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WAPA Aims to Restore Most Power by Monday

Oct. 17, 2008 — While an estimated 40 percent of St. Croix had power on Friday in the wake of Hurricane Omar, repairs were reportedly being completed that would ensure enough juice to power the entire island by the end of the day. However, because of extensive equipment repairs needed across the island, Water and Power Authority (WAPA) Executive Director Hugo Hodge, Jr. said it would be late Monday before he anticipated up to 90 percent of the island having electricity.
"All St. Croix feeders have been energized," Hodge said in a Government House statement released Friday. "We are now working to restore the areas that have suffered damage such as downed lines, uprooted poles and blown transformers."
Twenty line men from St. Thomas were deployed to St. Croix on Friday, along with equipment and supplies to aid in the recovery. But Hodge cautioned that extensive damage to the power infrastructure on the eastern end of St. Croix will take some time to repair, possibly one or two weeks.
Meanwhile, damage on the south side of the island suggested what WAPA crews were facing. The South Shore Road near Ha’Penny Beach had poles bent down over the road, precariously close to hitting any vehicle that tried to get by the police barricades by the entrance road to Ha’Penny.
On the East End Road, some power poles were not just bent over but were knocked flat along the roadside. Other poles were sheared off near the ground and hanging in the air supported by wires.
A curfew is in effect from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday on St. Croix. Police will be patrolling neighborhoods that remain without power, according to a Government House statement. Law enforcement authorities will continue to cooperate with the business community whose workers are on shift and must travel to and from work during the curfew period, the statement said. Any employee who must be on the road during the curfew is asked to have a company-issued identification card to serve as a curfew pass.
The news is better for the other Virgin Islands. WAPA said St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island are almost 100 percent charged, with the exception of isolated areas that have WAPA line crews continuing to troubleshoot. Residents on St. Thomas, St. John or Water Island who are without power are encouraged to call in outages.
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