letter to the editorDear Editor,

Permit me space in your online news source to express some concerns I observed during the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew over Dominica’s sole electricity company, DOMLEC.

It appears to me that DOMLEC’s infrastructure is nothing to boast about. During its passage over Dominica, Tropical Storm Matthew was a relatively weak storm and having such large parts of the island without power should be a source of concern.

Now before I go on, I know I might get some flak. I also know that in times like these, power cuts are expected. I lived through Hurricane David and many other storms after that. So I know what the situation is like.

The point I want to make is this: how could so much of the island, practically the entire island, be left without power in such a minor storm?

I received word that the entire east coast was left without power on Wednesday morning even though Matthew was still hundreds of miles away from Dominica. As somebody told me over the phone, “a little rain and a little wind, and light gone.”

When power went in my area, the wind was hardly strong and the rain was not that bad. At that time, the storm was still in the Atlantic and was just being named Matthew by the National Hurricane Center. I soon learnt that the entire south coast from Delices to Castle Comfort was without power.

I later learnt that huge swath of the island, probably the entire island, except Roseau and environs and Portsmouth, was without power. It took DOMLEC more than a day to fully restore the commodity.

So, I come back to my point and questions I have. Is DOMLEC infrastructure up to par? If it cannot withstand such a minor storm, how will it perform if Dominica is struck by a major hurricane? How much is DOMLEC investing in its infrastructure?

The President of Dominica in many public speeches has said the island has one of the highest electricity rates in the Caribbean (I think every Dominican knows that), so are we getting value for money from such high rates?

Before I end, let me say hats off to DOMLEC’s crew for restoring the power. But it is my opinion that if the company had a more sturdy infrastructure, the power outages on such a magnitude in such a minor storm would not have occurred.