Belco urges people to trim trees to help avoid hurricane power outages
Homeowners are being advised to trim trees close to electricity cables ahead of hurricane season, which starts on Wednesday.
Energy provider Belco said that the majority of power outages are caused by downed trees — and that the problem is preventable.
A spokesman for the company said: “Now is the time for property owners to trim their trees at a minimum of ten feet away from power lines to prevent an outage. It is important to be safe while trimming your trees.”
The spokesman added that Belco can disconnect the power supply to a property while trees are being trimmed.
He said: “Please call Belco on 2992800 to schedule a power shutdown for your tree trimming. We ask that you arrange this three weeks in advance so that we have enough time to schedule your power shutdown.”
On hurricane damage, the spokesman said: “Always assume a downed wire is live. Never approach a downed wire. Don’t try to move it or touch it.
“On the restoration of power, it is prudent to use lights only and have voltages checked by qualified personnel before plugging in sensitive and expensive equipment.”
He added: “Remember, before the onset of high winds, ensure you unplug any appliances, electronics or other sensitive equipment. While plug-in surge protectors protect against common, small surges, unplugging is the safest bet for lightning surges that may occur during a storm.”
Belco crews have already started gearing up for the season in readiness should a hurricane hit Bermuda. The company has already contacted former staff members who can be drafted in as back-up if there are major outages.
The spokesman said: “If Bermuda is impacted by a storm which results in power outages, restoration crews start work as soon as it is declared safe to do so by the Emergency Measures Organisation and continue until every customer has had power restored.
“Power is restored according to a specific plan. Main lines, being the main vein for carrying the power, must be restored first so that branch lines can then be repaired and finally power is restored to homes.
“If a customer has lost power, the main and branch lines must be repaired and energised before damage to a specific household can be fixed or else there will be no power feeding into the lines that supply that home.
“It is important to note that Belco never intentionally shuts off power to any customers.
“Customers can always check on outages and restoration efforts in their area by visiting the Belco website and accessing the outage map.”
Belco president Wayne Caines said: “Meteorologists have predicted an active storm season this year, but the public can take comfort in knowing that Belco is well prepared for whatever may come our way.
“During the aftermath of a hurricane, Belco staff certainly appreciate the patience and understanding of the public as we work to get everyone’s power restored as quickly and safely as possible.
“I encourage the public to review their own hurricane safety plans as well as tips and advice on the Belco website to keep their family and property safe should we be impacted by a storm this summer.”