The Dominica Electricity Services Limited (Domlec) says that it has put measures in place to ensure that upcoming national events during the independence season will not be interrupted as a result of power outages. For the past few months, residents and businesses have been grappling with frequent power outages, or “load shedding,” that have plagued the island, which stems from inadequate power generation capacity, coupled with an aging diesel generation fleet and equipment that the company has relied on for 37 years.
With key events on the horizon, Domlec’s Chief Operations Officer (COO), Dave Stamp, has affirmed that scheduled maintenance will be suspended during this crucial period to uphold a continuous power supply in areas where the events will be held. He also highlighted Domlec’s concerted efforts to ensure the availability of currently unavailable units for this period, guaranteeing that they remain operational without any interruptions.
Furthermore, Stamp indicated that the company will be strategically placing leased units to cover specific event locations such as the stadium and fringe event areas. They are implementing careful load management to prevent these areas from being affected in case of any unforeseen issues.
While Domlec is actively working to resolve the ongoing load-shedding situation by year-end with external support from a generation consultant from St. Lucia, a technical team from Venezuela, and by leasing additional generation, a concerning issue is the decreasing water levels at the Freshwater Lake, which could exacerbate the problem.
“This is really, really, really bad. In my entire time here in Dominica and Domlec, this is the lowest I’ve ever seen the lake,” Stamp stated. “The Lake is below five meters. The lake and the hydro production is below 1/3 of its capacity and falling.”
Stamp expressed his concern about the lake’s water level dropping if the country does not get any rainfall, which would require the hydro unit’s complete shutdown to preserve the lake’s resources.
Meanwhile, in response to increasing complaints of equipment damage during load shedding, Daryl Dalrymple, Domlec’s Engineering, Transmission & Distribution Manager, advised customers to use surge protectors for sensitive equipment to mitigate potential damage.
“We know what’s happening now we know we have that loading shedding going on, it’s published. So one of the things that you can do, particularly if you know that we’re going to do some load shedding, you can switch off some of your sensitive equipment,” he said.
“Your fridges, etc. wouldn’t really get damaged if it’s just normal load shedding. But the sensitive equipment, it’s always advisable that you get some form of surge protection for your sensitive equipment,” the company’s engineer added.
For her part, Bertilia McKenzie, the company’s General Manager, encouraged customers whose equipment had been damaged to visit their Roseau or Portsmouth branch to file a claim for compensation. She noted that the company will try to shorten the process, as they “do not want to put an additional burden on the customers.”
Customers who wish to make a claim for compensation for damaged equipment or appliances are encouraged to call 275-7540 during normal working hours. Mondays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays to Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.