APUA experiences challenges reconnecting homes in Barbuda

The head of the electricity division within the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) has cited several challenges plaguing the reconnection of electricity on Barbuda, but has given the assurance that the process is being handled in an efficient manner.

Andre Mathias said the statutory corporation is challenged by a shortage of heavy-duty equipment and personnel because they are required to send resources from mainland Antigua over to the sister isle.

“So we have some challenges; and while I admit that we could have done some more, I am very pleased with the safety records in terms of us doing the work and doing it safely,” Mathias said.

Almost two years after Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda, hundreds of homes are still without power, leading to a series of complaints from homeowners and those in certain political circles.

According to Mathias, the electrical integrity of the company’s grid was compromised during the hurricane.

Additionally, Barbudans were also asked to re-apply for the services and undergo an inspection to ensure that their homes could be reconnected properly. He said while some have complied, other homes are still without roofs, further compounding the problem and slowing down the reconnection process.

“I would admit that it could have been done sooner than we are doing it, but we used the opportunity to do it right. We have also moved from 320 volts to three-wire, which is 115 to 230, so we are giving the customers an option. If they have 110-equipment coming from the United States, they could use it without having to purchase a transformer,” Mathias said.