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Visiting Lineman on St. Croix Electrocuted When Uncaring Homeowner Leaves Generator On During Electrical Repairs To Neighborhood

CHRISTIANSTED — A visiting lineman from the U.S. mainland was electrocuted when electricity from an active generator back-fed into the electrical grid, according to Gov. Kenneth Mapp. The lineman has been airlifted off-island for treatment. His condition is not known.

In speaking to reporters Friday night, Mapp said that when a homeowner causes an injury to a lineman, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) will cut the line to that house and not return to it until everyone else in the territory has been restored to electricity.

“Snip, snip, snip,” Mapp said to laughter among those gathered, comparing the future cut lines to a male goat that is too randy.

WAPA has repeatedly warned homeowners not to feed electricity directly into a person’s house as it is inefficient and dangerous unless there is a switch to make sure the electricity cannot flow back into the electrical system.

In the future, WAPA said out of an abundance of caution, it will bypass homes whose generators are back-feeding power into grids.

HURRICANE RESTORATION UPDATE (according to WAPA)

ELECTRIC SYSTEM

• WAPA’s crews continue a steady and progressive reconstruction and restoration effort each day. With supplies to include poles, transformers, wire and other hardware arriving weekly, the Authority remains committed to its goal of restoring 90 percent of all areas across the Virgin Islands by Christmas 2017. Another 200 off-island linemen are expected to arrive over the next few days to augment the restoration effort.

o On St. John Friday, crews continued restoration work in the Gifft Hill, Bellevue and Pastory areas. Crews continue to reconstruct primary circuits from Coral Bay to Cruz Bay while other crews work from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay.

o On St. Thomas, customers in Fortuna were restored, including the Fortuna townhouses and the Bluewater Bible College. The FAA radar facility on the west end of the island was also re-energized. Work continued in sections of Santa Maria with restoration of more customers expected early next week. Crews continued reconstruction work along Feeder 7A toward Sorgenfri, West and East Caret Bay and Four Corners. Another section of Feeder 7A, in Altona, is also expected to be energized next week. Circuits along the Subbase roadway are being reconstructed with service to be restored early next week to the Supreme Court and Crown Bay Center, as well as businesses and government offices on Subbase Road. On Feeder 10A, poles are being up-righted and planted in some sections of Frenchtown, and crews will begin to string lines from the Cancryn intersection toward Gregorie East. Portions of Red Hook Plaza on Feeder 7D were restored on Friday as well as customers along the Smith Bay Road, and on Feeder 9C from the Bowsky Elementary School in Estate Mandahl toward Tabor and Harmony.

o On St. Croix Friday, some customers in Estate Whim were energized and efforts continue to restore major sections of Frederiksted town this weekend and the Louis E. Brown, Sr. Villas and portions of Feeder 9B early next week. Customers on Feeder 6B including Foodtown, Princess Health Center, Northshore Health Center, the St. Croix Avis and One Love Service Station were restored while Little Princesse and Sion Farm are being readied for restoration of service as well as Estates Barrenspot, Strawberry and Bonne Esperance on Feeder 5A. Crews will continue restoration near Gallows Bay on Saturday and over the next few days, additional customers on Orange Grove Road to Clifton Hill and from Estate Richmond to Beeston Hill will be restored.

• WAPA advises homeowners across the Virgin Islands that through an agreement reached between WAPA and the Department of Planning & Natural Resources, WAPA will energize homes with temporary roofs once a licensed electrician inspects and certifies that the structure is safe to energize.

• WAPA reminds the public that several hurricane removal debris crews are deployed across the islands. Motorists are asked to exercise caution when traversing around the heavy equipment being used to pick up downed poles, transformers, wire and other equipment. Additionally, residents who have downed poles, transformers and other equipment on their premises, as a result of the hurricanes, should contact the Emergency Call Centers so arrangements can be made to pick up the damaged equipment.

• WAPA urges residents to shut off standby generators when line crews are in your neighborhood restoring electrical service. A standby generator has the potential to back feed electricity to the grid which poses a severe safety risk to restoration crews.

• All electrical problems must be reported to the WAPA Emergency Call Centers to be properly documented and tracked. The Emergency Call Centers operate 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days per week. St. Thomas – St. John: (340) 774-1424 and St. Croix: (340) 773-0150.

• WAPA personnel has removed electrical meters at locations where damage was apparent to either an electrical meter base and/or weather head. Home and business owners are advised to make repairs to their damaged weather heads and/or meter bases as soon as possible. Once crews have reached your neighborhood, those customers who have not had their weather head or meter base repaired, will not have service immediately restored. Additionally, customers and electricians are reminded that it is against the law to remove or otherwise destroy meter seals. If work needs to be done to repair a damaged meter base and or weather head, contact WAPA’s Emergency Call Centers which operate seven days a week, 9 am – 5 pm.

POTABLE WATER SYSTEM

• There are six days of emergency water storage on St. John, ten days on St. Thomas and six days on St. Croix.

• WAPA urges clean-up contractors and homeowners in both districts to exercise caution when piling debris on and around potable water meters. There are a growing number of instances where water meters are being damaged by clean-up equipment grading debris and causing damage to the roadside water meters. The continued damage by heavy equipment poses difficulty in maintaining or restoring potable water service to customers.

OTHER INFORMATION

• Emergency Call Centers operate 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week.
St. Thomas – St. John district, (340) 774-1424; St. Croix district, (340) 773-0150

• WAPA telephone contact: St. Thomas – St. John district, (340) 774-3552; St. Croix district, (340) 773-2250

• Customer Service Offices are operating Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Sunny Isle on St. Croix and at Port of Sale Mall on St. Thomas

• WAPA website: www.viwapa.vi

• Facebook: Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority

• We continue to Recover, Rebuild and Restore. WAPA…Working for You!!

AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES:

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

4 Comments

  1. CONCERNED
    November 13, 2017 at 8:15 AM — Reply

    IS THE GUY OK?

    • November 13, 2017 at 8:27 AM — Reply

      Our understanding from the Mapp press conference is that he was airlifted off-island for treatment. We will incorporate that information into the article.

  2. Joan
    November 13, 2017 at 1:40 PM — Reply

    WOW what bad taste to post the photo of the guy!!!!!!!

    • November 14, 2017 at 8:11 AM — Reply

      What better way to emphasize the seriousness of the situation. How else will people learn?

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