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Belco offers advice on hurricane preparations and precautions

A crew from Almeida`s landscaping along with Belco employees trim trees along North Shore in Hamilton Parish in perpetration for hurricane Igor in 2010

Belco is reminding customers about storm preparation ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Franklin, which is likely to reach its closest point to the island on Sunday and is expected to be a Category 2 hurricane at that time.

The utility said the most important step ahead of a storm was making sure trees were at least ten feet away from power lines.

Trees and vegetation interfering with power lines is the main cause of power outages despite simple steps that can be taken to avoid the problem.

In 2011, Belco initiated a campaign to encourage the cutting back of trees near main line circuits and some branch lines to prevent outages.

The company notes that it cannot cut trees on private property.

Those who would like to trim trees on their own must have the power temporarily disconnected first. They can arrange this by calling 295-5111 or e-mailing treetrimming@belco.bm.

Belco offers a host of other advice.

The public should assume all downed wires are live and these lines should not be approached, touched or moved.

Outages do not have to be reported. AMI meters will send that information automatically. Those with other types of meters are asked not to file reports until they are asked by the utility.

When power is restored, voltages should be checked by qualified technicians before sensitive and expensive equipment is plugged in. Only lights should be used at first.

Before the wind peaks, unplug appliances, electronics and other sensitive equipment. Surge protectors can protect against common, small surges, but unplugging is the safest option for lightning surges that tend to occur during storms.

Keep out of the way of Belco crews as they work, the utility advises.

Belco customers can check on outages and restoration efforts around the island by visiting belco.bm and accessing the outage map.

Medical-priority customers are advised to speak with their doctor now about a plan should there be a power outage. Belco cannot guarantee electricity for the duration of the storm for these individuals and some may need to make alternative arrangements.

Before hurricane season, the Crisis Management Team and Belco met to ensure preparations were finished, supplies were ordered and the pre-storm checklist reviewed.

Wayne Caines, Belco president, said: “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 season.”

If the storm causes power outages, a restoration crew will deploy for work once the areas are deemed safe.

Power restoration happens according to a plan, with main line circuits taking priority and then branch lines repaired.

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Published August 25, 2023 at 7:41 am (Updated August 25, 2023 at 7:41 am)

Belco offers advice on hurricane preparations and precautions

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