Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said delays in shipments by two major cargo companies is severely slowing restoration of the territory’s electricity infrastructure.
Thousands of materials including poles and electrical transformers were reordered and are to be shipped to the territory by carriers Tropical Shipping and Crowley.
However, Vanterpool said ‘severe logistical challenges’ are being experienced with those two primary cargo companies.
“The logistics [problems] are with respect to obtaining the needed equipment and material necessary to rebuild the national [electricity] grid, due to their respective shipping delays in bringing cargo to the BVI,” Vanterpool said.
The works minister made the statement in the House of Assembly this week when he was asked to give a schedule when power will return to the rest of the territory.
While noting that adequate manpower (linesmen) is also a challenge, Vanterpool said he could not accurately predict when each part of the territory still without power will completely receive electricity.
In the meantime, Vanterpool said Tropical and Crowley’s service to other hurricane-struck countries such as US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico also contribute to the shipment delays in BVI.
The minister’s announcement of shipment issues comes days after a privately-owned hardware store decried poor service from the two cargo companies. Owners of the major hardware store said they would be employing alternative cargo companies to ship to the BVI.
The September hurricanes damaged some 12,000 poles, 400 miles of conductor cable, 2,200 pole-mounted transformers, and 3,500 streetlights in the British Virgin Islands.
So far, roughly 40 percent of the electricity infrastructure has been restored on Tortola while fifty percent is restored on Virgin Gorda. A massive 90 percent has been restored on Anegada.
The BVI Electricity Corporation is reportedly working to return power to Jost Van Dyke through the West End Feeder on Tortola.
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