PHILIPSBURG--GEBE has announced that the few homes that remained without electricity following the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo either were reconnected last night or are scheduled to be reconnected by October 27.
The company met with Minister of Infrastructure Maurice Lake yesterday afternoon to update him on these homes.
GEBE said restoration of power to problematic connections in St. Peters and South Reward had been planned and delivered on October 23. Power in Middle Region and Sucker Garden was scheduled for October 26, but also was restored October 23.
Madame Estate is scheduled for October 24; Dutch Quarter, Mount Willem Hill and Pointe Blanche for October 26; and Oyster Pond for October 27.
The company said updates would be made known.
High-tension cables have been taken down and have had to be completely restored, while low-tension cables also had to be restored in each case and reconnected to houses.
GEBE has issued releases through traditional and social media since Gonzalo, including sharing pictures, posts and video on Facebook, to which many clients had been referred for feedback because of the overwhelming number of calls experienced on the company’s hotline. Reports are still being taken.
“In order to alleviate the extraordinary amount of service calls after Gonzalo, supplementary numbers were provided for clients to call for assistance. In addition to the toll-free emergency number 1-844-432-3213, three additional numbers were added: 1-721-546-1189, 1-721-546-1193 and 1-721-544-3100. There was a huge amount of damage caused by Gonzalo, so it took time to get to each location,” a GEBE press release read.
The country’s sole electricity provider has been assuring the public that it is working around the clock to restore power, but some areas were affected by Gonzalo more than others, including Belvedere, Dutch Quarter and Middle Region. These have been given priority, but time frames for restoration vary. “The damage was widespread, so the restoration process will not be quick or easy,” a company press release read.
“We have a great team of people at NV GEBE who are committed to St. Maarten and the comfort and safety of its residents and visitors. Additional crews have also been hired to fortify the existing NV GEBE staff,” said Chief Financial Officer Rene Gartner.
Chief Operating Officer Romelio Maduro assured the community that GEBE was doing all it could do to make sure every client’s need was met.
The company services some 20,000 meter connections, the majority of which remained functional and maintained power throughout the hurricane. Most other electricity connections were restored quickly.
“I would like to apologise to the customers who have been without electricity to date. The damage caused by the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo was extensive with respect to overhead cables, high-tension and low-tension, which still remain aboveground,” said Minister Lake.