Some Dominicans have begun exploring alternative sources of energy following a series of power cuts that have been plaguing the island, leaving many frustrated.
For weeks now, power cuts have become a daily occurrence. Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC), the sole provider of electricity here, blames these outages on its “Capacity Management Program.”
On Wednesday, September 13, DOMLEC announced that there was going to be an “emergency outage” in several sections of the southwestern part of the island. Hours later, it announced another power cut which included the entire east coast from Rosalie to North End, essentially leaving almost half of Dominica without power.
Many people say they have reached the end of their rope and are now exploring other ways to keep their houses and business places energized.
“There are power cuts all over the world,” John (not his real name) stated.
“But this is becoming more than ridiculous. Every day so? Not a single day passes by without DOMLEC announcing a power cut here and a power cut there.”
Right now, John said he is exploring multiple sources of energy but might settle on solar.
“I have a generator, you know,” he stated. “But gas is expensive. I cannot run it for the whole day. I’ve thought of different avenues for electricity and right now I think I will go with solar because here in Dominica we get a lot of sun, so it just makes sense.”
He said he has lost many productive hours because of the power cuts.
“The worst thing is when the power goes without warning or an announcement,” he stated.
“Sometimes, it goes just like that and you are in the middle of something and then you are left hanging. Honestly, I’ve lost a lot of money and there seems to be no end in sight.”
A resident of Giraudel told DNO that the power cuts are having a serious impact on his work.
“These power outages kill what I do,” he said. “I lost lots of computer work already, and I can’t afford doing so on such [an] insane scale. Additionally, food in our freezer degrades – lots of money and effort wasted.”
He said he is now seeking a solution to his dilemma concerning these outages.
“And now – seeing it will be a regular thing under the glorious name of ‘Capacity Management
Program’ – I need to find a solution,” he stated.
“Everyone can deal with a real emergency outage now or then. But it comes so regularly it should be printed in next year’s calendar…”
He said, for him a generator is not the real answer since it is expensive and is a hassle.
“So, I should thank DOMLEC for helping me decide to buy a solar system and go green,” he remarked.
“No more diesel for me.”
He further suggested a waiver on solar imports because of the power cuts.
“It would be nice to see that due to this dramatic failure of power supply, our Government would waive all import fees on solar imports – at least temporarily,” he said.
Meanwhile, many Dominicans have taken to social media to vent their frustration over the matter.
“You’d swear is a template they have and daily all they do is change the names of the communities,” one individual wrote on Facebook.
“Incompetence at its finest,” another wrote. “You would think that after having put PAYING CUSTOMERS through these series of back-to-back episodes of extreme inconvenience and disappointment, that you guys would have already made some official press briefing to bring further clarity to the actual situation. But no just a social media post to apologize like you’re not actively ruining people’s entire weekly schedules.”
Some say they are not satisfied with the reason DOMLEC has been giving for the outages.
“No explanation or a vague explanation full of jargon the local man cannot understand….we need answers,” one person wrote on Facebook. “We want to know the cause for this nonsense. Why are our appliances constantly being put at risk….at dis point best we cook all de food in our fridge and eat it cuz it cannot stay cold with Allu. That is not healthy…it is a health hazard…the constant temperature dropping on the food. Allu best let us know how long this gonna continue eh….ça c’est majee! (that’s nonsense).”