About 8:08 pm on Monday, the fuse and wire atop an electricity pole at the corner of New Street, Cumberland in Berbice caught afire. A few seconds later, the area serviced by the feeder experienced a power failure. I telephoned Guyana Power and Light’s Canefield Generation Station and requested assistance from the line maintenance crew. A short while later, the crews arrived, evaluated the situation, left then returned about half an hour later.
I stood from my veranda and observed what they were doing even though it was a bit dark that evening. There I was, watching this GPL crew working the night shift, under some extreme conditions—darkness being the major element working against them. The crew had, what looked like a flashlight, which certainly was not suitable for such conditions. The workman atop the post was still some distance below the level where his work would have been made much simpler. All he had at his disposal was a pole that was used to reach the fuse and attach a new one. All of the maneuvering had to be done using the pole, which saw several failed attempts. At one time, he requested a longer pole. At another time, he came down, they did something, went up back and tried again.
The person holding the torchlight below was without a doubt getting tired and unsteady. The man on the pole, too, must have been getting tired, not being able to see properly what he was doing, and being served with an unsteady and poor lighting instrument. Subsequently, a new fuse was successfully attached, and power was restored to the area just about 1 hour and 15 minutes after the fire.
I thank the crew for executing their duties under some challenging conditions and with somewhat antiquated equipment. Why can’t the Berbice crews be given proper lights and perhaps those trucks with the elevators that can extend high. This would also allow more flexibility, freedom of movement and manoeuvring by the crew who would also complete these jobs in a shorter time without compromising their safety on the job. GPL is taking a lot of chances, especially during the nights.
Leon Jameson Suseran