Business grinds to a halt

| 25/07/2012

power cut.JPG(CNS): Update 2:15pm — Electricity has been restored to the majority of CUC customers, according to Grand Cayman's power supply company, which said the island-wide outage this morning was the result of a fault at its Hydesville, West Bay substation. At present, electricity at the George Town Hospital and the Owen Roberts International airport has been restored. Customers along West Bay Road, South Sound, George Town, Bodden Town and North Side all now have electricity. A CUC spokesperson said that those customers who remain without power at this time will be restored in a phased manner to ensure system stability. CUC anticipates that power will be restored to all of their customers by the end of today.

The country's capital ground to a halt Wednesday morning when an island-wide power cut prevented many of George Town's businesses from opening. Today is the only day this month that three cruise ships are in port, but without power few businesses were in a position to open. Even Fosters Supermarket was forced to close its doors while CUC grappled with a major power loss.

Although the new Government Administration Building was able to draw on generator power and keep some government business going, other official buildings were closed.

All public libraries on Grand Cayman have now closed for the day and are expected to reopen tomorrow morning. The library on Cayman Brac remains open.

The Airport, Seven Mile Beach and Bodden Town post offices are now open but all other post offices on Grand Cayman remain closed.

Courts offices are currently closed and will reopen when power is restored to them. However, a small number of court sessions are underway to deal with urgent matters, according to the judicial administrator.

The Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) district office in West Bay is closed and will remain closed until power is restored. In the event of an emergency, contact the George Town Administrative Office at 949-0290.

The Department of Immigration, which did experience some disruption, now says that all Immigration services resumed as normal this afternoon.

While some private sector offices also switched to generator power many small businesses, shops and restaurants remained closed.

CIBC FirstCaribbean International bank branches at Plaza Venezia and Safe Haven are temporarily closed due to the island wide power outage and will reopen when normal electricity service has been restored. Customers are invited to use thebank's Main Street branch today.

CUC apologised for the inconvenience caused by the power cut, which began around 6:30am. A spokesperson said that further details about the outage would be released shortly.

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Comments (39)

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  1. In Perso Nator says:

    What I find most amusing is that you will have to reuse those headline next week when the expats stage their no work day to protest the new mactax. Difference is, it will really grind to a halt… This week we limped along just fine…
    Wait and see…

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm scared to know how much this outage is going to cost us over the next few months!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do you think the shareholders will reimbuse me for my loss of income from their nice big dividend at the end of the year?  Yeah, right!

  4. Anonymous says:

    CUC does not have proper protection in its power distribution system.

    If it did, there would be no way that any single fault could bring down its whole power grid.

    Many forms of protection exist besides circuit breakers tripping out on overload. For exam[le differential protection which compares the total amount of power coming into a substation to the total amount of power leaving that same substation Any difference means  there is a fault somewhere internal to the station.


  5. Anonymous says:

    "Business grinds to a halt" – this title will apply soon to Cayman if they start taxing expats!

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess CUC will be happy that Mackeevas anouncement on taxing expats will be taking the attention away from their power outage!

  6. Anonymous says:

    SOLUTION – West Bay caused this power outage as their was a power overload in West Bay blacking out the entire island. As west Bay holds all the power in the country, lets cut them off so the rest of us can have power and lead normal lives while the centre of power in the country sustains themselves on all the power ciculating in WEST BAY only.

    They do not need CUC as they have renewable energy from the Premier's hot air and solar panels he is giving away to only the people who support him.

  7. Nanoo says:

    It is obvious that we need to pay more for our electricity so that there is more capital expenditure to prevent events like today.  We should stop being so cheap and ungrateful.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I thought those subs stations was there to avoid a island wide outage? Real good customer service cuc! You should had have another electric company here!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Since each successive government won't do it, maybe Austin, tomorrow could suggest that we start one to insure that they government introduces competition in the electricity business.

    BoBo and Ezzard's one that you could actually win!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bobo, Ezzard, Johann, Sharon and gang. I want you all to start a "ONE MAN, ONE VOLT" pettition to initiate a people's referendum against CUC. I already spoke to Austin and the Rooster will be crowing tomorrow.

    I don't think it is fair that we have to wait so long to get elecrticity while West Bay and George Town have twice as much as they need. Get this petition going now and I will be the first to sign. I will even take time out during the holiday to come out and vote to ensure the 50 plus 1 that we need for it to pass. Be careful though, I hear that they will be using a lot of the "people's" money to campaign for the "no" vote."

    Come on guys CUC has to be more equal in their distribution of electricity..some say they could even use some competiton.


    "ONE MAN, ONE VOLT"…for better electricity distribution in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      But 10% less electricity for all those greedy electricity stealin' ex-pats! 😉


  11. NeoSurvivor says:

    How about we all recognise that our power needs have grown and the system itself is vulnerable to problems?    Along with that, how about we all recognise that we have a responsibilty ourselves to prepare for such events?   

    Budget for a small generator and store some fuel.   At the very least, a good quality ice chest and always keep your freezer with an excess of ice.   Here we are in the height of hurricane season, and if some of the comments here are representative of the island as a whole, we were ill-prepared to take responsibility for ourselves.   

    I was particularly surprised to read that Foster's shut down — I would think that they'd have backup generators, and that the fuel expended would be an overall less loss than the loss of business.     I'm certain there are factors there at play that I'm woefully unaware of.  

    Point is, this can happen any day.     Our power is reliable, albeit expensive.    I don't see things improving in the short term.    Buckle up, and consider that a few preps –purchased over time — can make a big difference.

  12. SKEPTICAL says:

    How can the failure of one sub-station in West Bay bring the whole island to a grinding halt. The financial and reputational damage to the cruise ship tourist industry, is more than enough for this to be an issue which government has to address as a matter of urgency. And there is the considerable inconvenience, including possible loss of perishable goods, to domestic consumers. Surely, as a supposedly developed country, someone in the appropriate government ministry should have got together with CUC technicians to conduct a risk assessment review of the electrical distribution system, to determine if there were any areas of particular vulnerability. Oh, sorry, we are talking about the Government of the Cayman Islands.

  13. Anonymous says:

    When I saw the first two headlines today I thought they related to the same story – Premier imposes payroll tax and Business grinds to a halt.

  14. John says:

    Business are to grind to a halt for sure after Cayman loses her power of tax free status!  Both governments UDP and PPM have caused LIGHTS OUT for Cayman. This is a bad omen, I can feel it in my bones, and no one is to blame but all of them. Financial mismanagement of this country is a sin!

  15. Disgusted says:

    How can a power company that has had a monopoly and guaranteed returns for decades not have invested in back up generators that can supply at least the commercial areas of the island such as downtown/seven mile beach/industrial park? The tourism sector alone has lost hundreds of thousands(if not millions) of dollars today. This is something that needs to be addressed the next time CUC's contract comes up for negotiation/renewal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed! saying "sorry" doesn't help us who have had to close our businesses today.

      All they will do now is add a surcharge to our bill to pay for this repair today so that they can keep their "Insurance no claims record" in check.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It takes an outage like today's to remind us how much we all rely on CUC, and how reliable they usually are.

    CUC and Ted Bowyer, my old boss, may he rest in peace, are the unsung heroes in this jurisdiction's success. We could never have built the financial industry without reliable power (I didn't say "cheap").

    We could have the misfortune to live and work in islands where the power goes off regularly.

    CUC has obviously had a big and unforeseen problem today, but their people were organized in their response and got the power back on as quickly as they could. I'm also confident that there will be an investigation and improvements made to try to avoid the same thing happening again.

    Although we all love to complain about them, their service is usually outstanding. Let's not forget that.

    Alan Roffey.

    • Anonymous says:

      "unforeseen" should not apply to CUC. The entire island depends on  reliability of its service. There should be many backups implemented for any possible situation. It is simple unacceptable for a tropical island.

      • Man From Foreign says:

        [Quote]There should be many backups implemented for any possible situation. It is simple unacceptable for a tropical island.[/Quote]


        Agreed! There should be redundant generation facilities. And, redundant transmission facilities.


        Of course, there will be redundant billing facilities too, even when the redundant systems go unused for 99.9% of the time. But you'll find that perfectly acceptable, right?

    • Ching Ching says:

      As an x CUC member of staff I completely agree with Allan,

  17. Anonymous says:

    Sparky the turtle went on strike, his words shortly before power down "NA TODAY BOBO!"


    Comment from Dr Snootalicious professor of Funkintelemetry "Electrosapiens no more… UP with the Funktonians an down with the boogalumps and their no rhythm society".

    The motha ship has landed now get down with ya bad self!!! As we rise to new levels of Phsycosis!

  18. Anonymous says:

    How outage of such magnitute could have happened in the first place?

  19. Anonymous says:

    OK CUC- Will you NOT charge consumers for the same period of time that this outage occured for??? Its the very least that you as a supposedly good company could give to YOUR high paying customers for this gross and highly inconvenience outage. For the MILLIONS that you collect each month, this is truly pathetic, unacceptable, rude and out of order. I say time for SOLAR PANELS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Er… you meters will have stopped running while there is outage so you are automatically not charged. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I think what the writer is inferring is that CUC should credit us for the same amount of time thatwe went without electricity today and lost our income and for the time our businesses were shut…ie. tomorrow should be a free day of electricity from CUC..

        We know that won't happen, infact, watch your bills, you will see that we will have to pay to repair whatever broke today.

        CUC has it made..Wish I owned it. it is a license to print money!

  20. LCB says:

    Maybe CUC can re-imburse customers for the loss?

    They have made a profit every year in Cayman since 1965, and the People paid them back $13 Million for their uninsured light posts from Ivan.

    Come on CUC and Arden.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of the "good" old days. Hot and no work. Although, Its hotter than I remember it. Must be spoilt. 


  22. Anonymous says:

    …."in order to maintain stability in the system" Good to see CUC still has a sense of humour.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I will be sending CUC a bill for the spoiled food in my fridge at home.