(SAMOA) — Power should be fully restored by Saturday (Samoa Time) and the public is asked to cut down trees near power lines to lessen power line damages in high winds.
A post-Cyclone Gita assessment by the Electric Power Corporation shows most damages to power lines were caused by fallen trees.
This is according to a press statement issued Monday by the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
“The majority of damages to power lines are from falling trees located on private property," said EPC General Manager Tologata Tile Leia Tuimalealiifano in the statement. “And I urge families to please heed our pleas to cut down trees near power lines because this is what happens every time we have gusty winds."
EPC employees are working around the clock to have power restored by Saturday.
As of Monday, EPC restored 98% of the high voltage distribution line around Upolu about 48 hours after Tropical Cyclone Gita devastated the Samoan island group.
Upolu's high voltage line should be back at 100% Tuesday morning..
The swift response by EPC to repair the high voltage will allow ground crews to work inland to re-connect power to homes which remain powerless since Saturday.
Tologata confirmed that, as of Monday, electricity to 30% of the 35,000 EPC clients on Upolu has been restored. He anticipates by Wednesday if the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, power for Upolu Island should be fully restored.
However, anticipating some unexpected setbacks, Tologata has guaranteed that by Saturday every home and business in Upolu and Savai'i, every customer of EPC, should have electricity.
For Savaii Island, 95% of the high voltage distribution line is back on line with 30% of the 10,000 EPC customers also receiving electricity.
“All the undamaged homes have been put back on line,” said Tologata noting that the task faced by EPC “to restore electricity under these conditions is a huge task to say the least.”
“Despite the dangerous weather conditions during the pre-Tropical Cyclone Gita, EPC crew has been on the ground as late as 2 a.m. in the morning and supporting staff which includes the 200 plus EPC staff have been working 24-7," said Tologata. “As you know, I’m not the kind of person that toots his own horn, but I have to commend my staff for the dedication."
Tologata said: "Like some of our residents, many have families who were also affected by the Cyclone but they have been working non-stop, some since Friday, to ensure that electricity is restored as soon as possible.”
SOURCE: Press Secretariat, Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet