Power outage disrupts businesses, traffic, courts


A nearly two-hour power outage Tuesday morning disrupted George Town residents and businesses, many of which were just reopening after the four-day Easter holiday. 

The power outage, which began at 9:17 a.m., was caused by a utility pole fire on North Sound Road in the vicinity of the Public Works Department offices.  

“The fire was the result of accumulation of sea salt on the pole and subsequent rainfall,” the Caribbean Utilities Company said in a press release.  

CUC said the power outage affected 1,795 customers – which included large business customers – in central George Town and along Dorcy Drive, Bobby Thompson Way, Hospital Road, South Church Street and Cricket Square. According to CUC, power was restored to all customers by 11.11 a.m. 

The top of the pole that burned eventually snapped, leaving it dangling with electrical wires attached. CUC said the pole was being replaced. However, power was restored prior to that happening. 

In addition to disrupting businesses, the power outage also caused traffic tie-ups, particularly at intersections with disabled traffic lights. The lack of functioning traffic lights caused confusion at the busy junction of North Sound and Shedden roads until a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officer arrived to direct traffic. 

The power outage also disrupted a busy day at the Law Courts Building. 

With emergency lights in the lobby and stairwells initially functioning, people made their way into Court 2, where Magistrate Grace Donalds began sitting at 10:15 a.m. The court proceedings started with the emergency lights at the front and back doors offering illumination. However, one set of lights went off at 10:25 a.m. and the second set lost power at 10:40 a.m. Court proceedings continued with the only available lighting coming from narrow windows at floor level. Court officials occasionally used their cellphones to look at documents. 

As the morning continued, the magistrate dealt with court matters by sunlight and later by a battery-powered lamp. By the time court adjourned in late morning, the emergency lights in the stairwells had also gone out. 

Attorneys involved in a Grand Court trial met with the judge in chambers, where they agreed to adjourn until Wednesday. An estimated 60 Grand Court jurors waited outside until around 10:05 a.m. and then were sent away and asked to return Wednesday morning.  

Kirk House, where Traffic Court and another Summary Court were held, was also without power. 

Six defendants detained in Northward Prison were to have appeared in Summary Court via video link. Their cases were adjourned since no video link was available. 

Compass journalist Carol Winker contributed to this story. 

The fire near the top of the pole caused the pole to snap. The pole fire led to a power outage of about two hours in George Town on Tuesday. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay


Cayman Islands Fire Service officers attempt to put out a fire on a utility pole moments before the top snapped off. The pole fire caused a power outage of about two hours in many sections of George Town on Tuesday morning. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay