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Christmas week Belco blackout probe almost completed

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Island wide power outage in December: Washington Mall (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
Almost complete: Belco will submit a report to the Regulatory Authority “in due course” (File photograph)

An investigation into an island-wide power cut last month is almost complete, power firm Belco said yesterday.

A Belco spokesman said the report into the December 18 outage would be sent to industry watchdogs “in due course.”

It is understood that the report will be with the Bermuda Regulatory Authority in the next few days.

Dennis Pimentel, the Belco president, said last month that early indications suggested the incident was caused by mechanical failure.

He added: “Our operations personnel proceeded to perform a standard operating procedure.

“However, during this process there was an equipment failure which led to a cascade of built-in safety mechanisms being triggered that ultimately shut off power to the entire island.

“When the fault occurred, the safety mechanisms performed as designed and prevented what could have been serious damage to the generating equipment and grid and taken much longer to repair and restore power.”

Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, said at the time that Belco “must be held accountable” for the disruption, as well as frequent smaller outages.

Mr Roban said: “I expect a report on this as a matter of urgency.”

The Belco website said at the time of the December 18 incident, which hit at about 10.20am, that Belco’s crisis management team was “immediately convened” and work started to restore power with “critical customers” a priority.

A spokesman for Ascendant, Belco’s parent company, said later: “Power was restored to customers in a phased approach beginning with the hospital by 1pm, the City of Hamilton by 3pm, the majority of customers by 5pm and all remaining customers by 7pm.”

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Published January 20, 2021 at 8:04 am (Updated January 20, 2021 at 8:04 am)

Christmas week Belco blackout probe almost completed

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