Consumers Angry Over Power Outages

Angry customers made known their disgust over the fact that, in some cases, they have not had any supply since Saturday. Others have argued that their appliances, such as television sets, radios and refrigerators have been destroyed, as a consequence of the fluctuating voltage and unexpected disruptions. 

On Monday morning electricity supply was disrupted in the entire island, which officials later explained was caused by a fault experienced in the western part of St. Kitts. 

The Management of the St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC) has acknowledged that there are interruptions in the supply of electricity to some areas around the island, due to effects from the passage of Tropical Storm Rafael.  

This is mainly due to lightning strikes and heavy rainfall which resulted in broken lines and fallen poles on the Transmission and Distribution infrastructure, said a SKELEC official.  

However, it is important to note, said the official, that it is unsafe for the workmen to carry out work under these circumstances, but the company is seeking to assure consumers that as soon as they are able to do so, the necessary remedial work will be carried out. 

SKELEC officials have also announced that the Administration Building (Main Office) on Central Street was closing from 12:00pm on Monday. 

But the loss in supply is not the only source of aggravation for consumers at the present. So too is the announcement a few days ago that SKELEC was increasing its charges to consumers, to include a Customer Service Charge that they claimed was being assessed on them by the Customs Department. 

While the poor quality and unreliability of service is continuing to be a bother to consumers, the company which has a monopoly on the provision of electricity, has taken steps to increase its fees, also at a time when both business clients and private individuals have been crying out for some relief from the high charges. Quite a number of local companies have attributed the high costs as a key reason for going out of business. Homeowners have also been forced to adopt measures to cut electricity usage to help them afford the month expenses. 

Others have argued that while the Government has spoken about the need for something to be done to reduce electricity rates, the same administration has been allowing the imposition of higher charges that many fear, will have a serious negative impact on poor and vulnerable consumers throughout the island. As one caller to indicated, “While we crying out about the high rates and poor service, the government is charging us more for a service that is not even reliable; because every minute lights gone”.




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