Hurricane Fiona: Belco crews 'in full preparation mode’
Belco is bracing itself for the likely impact of Hurricane Fiona, which is expected to pass the island early on Friday morning.
A spokesman for the company said that Belco’s Crisis Management team has been activated and are meeting regularly to monitor the storm and prepare for its impact.
As of this morning, Hurricane Fiona is expected to pass about 100 miles from the island at 4am on Friday as a category 4 hurricane.
“If Bermuda is impacted by a storm which results in power outages, restoration crews start work as soon as it is safe to do so and continue until every customer has had power restored,” the spokesman said.
“Power is restored according to a specific plan. Main line circuits must be restored first so that branch lines can then be repaired in order for power to be 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.”
Belco has urged the public to ensure their own safety – and help Belco crews – in the wake of Hurricane Fiona.
· Always assume a downed wire is live. Never approach a downed wire, don’t try to move it or touch it.
· If an outage occurs, customers with AMI meters will automatically be logged as having an outage. Other customers are asked not to call to report an outage until Belco has asked you to do so.
· After power is restored, it is prudent to use lights only and have voltages checked by qualified personnel before plugging-in sensitive and expensive equipment.
· Unplug any appliances, electronics, or other sensitive equipment before the onset of high winds. While plug-in surge protectors protect against common, small surges, unplugging is the safest bet for lightning surges that may occur during a storm.
· Keep out of the way of Belco crews as they work.
· If you are a medical priority customer, please speak to your doctor now about a plan in the case of a power outage from a storm as Belco cannot guarantee electricity for the duration of the storm and alternative arrangements may be needed.
Customers can always check on outages and restoration efforts in their area by visiting belco.bm and accessing the outage map.
Wayne Caines, Belco president, said that while the island escaped Hurricane Earl largely unscathed, Hurricane Fiona is expected to bring damaging winds and heavy rain.
“We are taking this storm seriously and our crews are in full preparation mode,” he said. “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 as we await the impact of Hurricane Fiona.”