Press release: Sigora Haiti braces for Irma impact

Sigora Haiti, a micro-utility company that provides electricity to over 8,000 people in Northwest Haiti, is taking pre-emptive action to minimize potential damage to its micro-grids and protect the health and safety of its people and the wider community ahead of the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Irma.

The Category 5 storm is expected to traverse along Haiti’s Northern coast early Friday morning approximately 65 miles North of Sigora’s three micro-grids in Môle-St-Nicolas, Jean Rabel, and Presqu’île, pummeling the island nation with heavy rains and winds up to 75mph.

“We are expecting severe winds, flying debris, storm surge, and flooding. Any waterway, including those that are normally dry, may jump their banks and become dangerous” says Drew Lebowitz, VP of Operations for Sigora Haiti. “The most dangerous aspect of the storm in these towns is debris. In a high-wind scenario, everything that’s not bolted down becomes a missile.”

Sigora teams are preventatively pruning trees that are at risk of falling on the lines, and are reinforcing all potentially unstable structures in both towns. Earlier today, Sigora workers in Môle-St-Nicolas removed all the solar panels from its recently-completed 200kW solar array to prevent flying debris from damaging the PV panels, which could cause delays in getting the array online post-hurricane.

“Our priority is providing reliable electricity to our customers and if a temporary interruption in service is necessary, we want to ensure that it is as short as possible” explains Tyler Welsh, Sigora Haiti’s Deputy Director of Operations.

At the grid operator's discretion, each grid may be shut down preemptively for the hours of strongest wind and rain, and restored after repairs have been made. Customers in both towns will be advised of planned grid closures beforehand via radio and megaphone announcements. Sigora is advising everyone to get to high ground in sturdy, well-provisioned buildings to ride out the storm.

In anticipation of poor road conditions which may prevent relief crews from reaching the remote towns – Môle-St-Nicolas is a nine hour drive from the capital Port-au-Prince - Sigora is stockpiling reserves of water purification materials, medical kits, and food at its offices in Jean Rabel and Môle-St-Nicolas.

“It’s the community and capacity we have built locally that makes the difference” says Drew. “We have an incredibly capable team that is trained in technical matters and safety concerns for preparing the population, taking precautions, and being ready to put things back together whatever happens.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, a Category 4 storm which left parts of the country without power for more than three weeks, Sigora Haiti was able to restore power to its Môle-St-Nicolas grid in just 55 hours.

In preparation for post-hurricane operations, Sigora has pledged its crews and equipment to the Mayors of both towns to support any relief and reconstruction efforts that may be required following the storm.

 

About Sigora Haiti S.A.

Sigora Haiti started with a dream of electrifying a clinic on the island nation and has grown into a full-scale green utility project. Our mission is to power and empower underserved communities with clean, reliable, and fairly priced electricity. Sigora Haiti is a legally incorporated for-profit socially conscious and environmentally responsible Haitian Corporation with offices in Môle-St-Nicolas, Jean Rabel, and Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. For more information visit: www.sigorahaiti.com

Contact

Natasha Skreslet, Director of Impact & Communications
natasha@remove-this.sigora.co | +1 415 917 3319

 

 

 

 

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