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VINLEC said Sunday that it might initiate a controlled shutdown of electricity services in response to the imminent threat posed by hurricane conditions expected to affect the country by Monday.

The National Emergency Management Organisation has said that the centre of Hurricane Beryl, a Category 3 cyclone, is expected to pass near or over St. Vincent and the Grenadines Monday morning, with storm-force winds affecting the nation by late Sunday night. 

“VINLEC will continue to monitor the storm. However, depending on the strength and course of the hurricane, the company may implement a controlled shutdown at all locations as a precautionary measure,” the electricity generation and distribution company said.

“This means all customers could potentially experience a temporary cessation of services,” VINLEC said, adding that the controlled shutdown is necessary to ensure the safety of all VINLEC staff and to secure essential equipment, which will be critical for a faster and safer recovery process following the passage of Hurricane Beryl.

“A decision has been made to shut down hydropower stations in South Rivers, Cumberland and Richmond tonight, 30th June 2024.

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“We assure all customers that our diesel power stations in Lowmans Bay and Cane Hall will continue to adequately supply electricity to mainland, St. Vincent. The power stations in the Grenadine islands will also remain operational throughout the night.”

VINLEC said that if a nationwide controlled shutdown becomes necessary, its timing will be closely coordinated with the movement of the storm.

“Our dedicated teams will continue to monitor the situation closely and will restore services as soon as it is safe to do so,” VINLEC said.

“We urge everyone to take precautions and prepare by ensuring access to non-perishable food items, fully charging all electronic devices, and keeping candles, flashlights, battery or solar-powered lamps, battery-operated radios, and other essential supplies on hand.

“Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones by securing your homes and following all safety guidelines provided by local authorities. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this critical time. Stay tuned to local radio stations and VINLEC’s social media platforms for real-time updates,” VINLEC said.