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TSTT works to restore Diego Martin exchange
Minister of Public Utilities Nizam Baksh was part of a multi-disciplinary team visiting the TSTT Diego Martin Exchange on yesterday morning in the aftermath of heavy rain and flooding on Saturday. Baksh walked through the facility along with TSTT’s Chairman Everald Snaggs, the utility’s acting CEO Diana DeSousa and other TSTT executives along with personnel from the Diego Martin Regional Corporation and T&TEC which, just 24 hours earlier was under 15 feet of water in some places.
The flood cut a path of destruction at the Exchange destroying a 50-foot wall at the back of the compound, a 30-foot cabling bridge that used to pass over the Diego Martin river into the exchange and at least eight vehicles that were parked on the compound at the time. Also on Saturday, in the basement of the Exchange, the backup power equipment and electrical breakers that regulated the public electricity supply were completely submerged under 8 feet of water.
By 12.15 pm on Saturday the exchange was completely off air and mobile, broadband, subscription TV and fixed-line services to thousands of customers were disrupted. The Minister and other officials saw the destruction first hand and the progress made by TSTT personnel over the initial 24 hours since the flooding started. Voice, data and video services were being restored throughout the night and day and the group was brought up to speed on the next set of priorities at the Exchange.
Chief Technology Officer George Hill cautioned that the exchange would be using backup power sources for the foreseeable future because the main electrical infrastructure was severely compromised. Hill said: “Our electrical engineers have to make a thorough inspection of all the electrical components that were underwater and ensure that their integrity is restored before we can reconnect to the T&TEC supply.
That will take a considerable amount of time, up to several weeks. In the interim, the station will be using the standby power equipment we had to truck in overnight (Saturday) and additional equipment we have to bring in today while attempting to salvage the power systems that were affected by the flood.”
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