Over five villages along the North Coast region have been without power for the last three days leaving many counting their losses and now uncertain about their Christmas Day plans.
The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) yesterday confirmed that on Sunday at around 10 am, a large tree in the forested area between Santa Cruz and the North Coast Road in Maracas came down on power lines, causing outages and significant damage to T&TEC’s infrastructure.
The power outages have affected the villages of Maracas, Las Cuevas, La Fillette and Blanchisseuse. With T&TEC officials unable to tell them when the power supply will return many villagers were already forced to throw away spoiled food that could not last without cold storage.
When Guardian Media visited the village of Maracas yesterday, many of the villagers were upset as they noted their food supplies had been bought for the holidays.
“They bring up a generator yesterday morning. They say the generator can only power a small area and it cannot service the whole area, they told me they will rectify it in three hours’ time. So far, the problem has not been rectified and what I find, if the generator cannot service the area, they were supposed to schedule, where some in the village getting and some not getting at a time to allow persons to secure their food,” villager Harold Mascall said.
He added T&TEC had also been misleading them on when power will return.
“One day, they tell us it will be back in three hours and the other in one hour and now it is three days since we have no power. I have already started to dump food since it has been spoilt.”
The area was littered with T&TEC crews when Guardian Media visited, as they have been working around the clock to restore supply to the affected customers. We were reliably informed that the difficulty the crews are facing in restoring power was the terrain where some of the lines were downed.
In the interim, T&TEC has since deployed three mobile substations at Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas and Blanchisseuse, where the supply to most of the customers was restored. However, there are still many customers who are out of supply based on their location.
The commission has been notifying the villagers of the outage updates via a PA system throughout the Maracas and Blanchisseuse area and the commission’s corporate communications personnel are at times on the ground in various areas speaking with customers.
Still, the commission is at this time unsure when full power will be restored to all the affected community. But the villagers are uncompromising and called on T&TEC to compensate them for their losses.
Villager Nadine John said many of them had bought food supplies for the Christmas into the New Year period and many shop owners would have bought extra supplies to facilitate the higher demand for the holidays. Now, however, they are all losing and many of them find this very difficult during a year in which many of them were faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a problem and when you ask them T&TEC out the road, the excuse they tell you that when we are getting back the power. they tell you by half-past six. This is what they told me yesterday (Monday) evening, I want them to tell me the truth and don’t lie to me,” said Villager Kavell Francis.
The villagers are concerned that if the power does not return many of them will face a dark Christmas season.