CHARLOTTE AMALIE — At least 3,500 Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority customers lost power Saturday morning when a vehicle hit two utility poles in the Hull Bay area and overturned.
A man who identified himself as the driver, told The Virgin Islands Daily News he was a commercial fisherman and had fallen asleep at the wheel on his way home after a long night at sea.
The accident toppled one pole, snapped another and destroyed an array of electrical equipment, according to WAPA spokesman Jean Greaux, Jr.
A crew was able to quickly restore power to the majority of customers on Feeder 7A by isolating the accident scene, but more than 500 customers were impacted for several hours, Greaux said. WAPA personnel planted a new utility pole, installed a pole-mounted transformer, as well as primary and secondary service lines and other electrical equipment to fully restore power.
The “accident not only inconvenienced a number of area residents from Hull Bay to Lerkunlund, Misgunst and Barrett Hill in terms of electrical service it also caused a service interruption to cable television, telephone and internet services to residents of the area,” said interim Executive Director Noel Hodge. “While we understand accidents occur, there is a need for motorists to exercise good judgement while operating motor vehicles on the territory’s roadways.”
“Residents can ill afford lengthy electric service outages and the Authority should not be made to absorb the loss of revenue from such outages coupled with the manpower and replacement equipment costs,” the release stated.
The outage occurred at 6:38 a.m. and service was restored to all customers at approximately 3:15 p.m.
WAPA customers along Ridge Road and in Nadir, Bovoni, Frydenhoj, Nazareth, Red Hook and Smith Bay on St. Thomas will experience an electrical-service outage from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight, according to the utility.
The outage is necessary to allow personnel to restore Feeder 9C to its normal configuration, according to a statement released over the weekend by the Authority.
Changes to the routing of the feeder were necessary after a distribution system switchgear suffered extensive damage during an outage on March 29. The outage was originally scheduled for Wednesday.