Vandals cause blackout in Bonaire

POSTED: 01/7/15 4:16 PM

KRALENDIJK – Bonaire is breathing easier again after an announcement from utilities company WEB that it is no longer necessary to cut off all electricity. The power supply is completely guaranteed for the time being, after a complete power cut on Saturday, Belkis Osepa reports on Caribisch Netwerk. WEB’s financial director Albert Schoonderbeek speaks of “an intentional action to damage the power distribution network.”

Initially chances were significant that the whole island would be at least eight hours without power on Sunday. That time was necessary to repair the damages cables of the network. On Saturday night Bonaire was confronted with a total blackout that lasted the whole night and until late into the next morning. Damages to a main transport cable caused the blackout.

The Web is taking this incident very serious. The police have been called in and an investigation is underway. The company earlier indicated that sabotage was the probable cause of the blackout. Schoonderbeek; “A lot of effort has been made to damage the distribution network. It has been an intentional action. Ordinary vandalism does not go as far as this did.”

Energy producer ContourGlobal and WEB feared that a second high tension cable – the backup line for electricity distribution – has also been seriously damages. The two main transport cables have been partly replaced separately without a complete power cut.

Schoonderbeek said that fire has been used to damage the cable, but the Web does not want to get ahead of the police investigation. The incident took place north of the former plantation Karpata. The cables are meters underground under a badly maintained dirt road.

The cables run from the new power plant of ContourGlobal Ser’i Suit to Playa in Kralendijk. The perpetrators knew where the cables were and they dug deep to get at them.

“It is necessary to be knowledgeable, because you must know where the line is,” says Schoonderbeek. Roy Silberie, manager of WEB’s company office is convinced of this. “He knew where he could do a lot of damages. We are talking about a cable that is the main artery to supply all of Bonaire with electricity.”

Schoonderbeek; “This affects WEB, but above all the residents. I hope that people realize the impact this has. Nobody benefits from it.”

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