HALF OF GUAM STILL WITHOUT POWER, TELEPHONE

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 6) - Some island residents had their power and water restored just days after Dec. 8's Supertyphoon Pongsona, but others are still waiting.

Lance Martinez of Agana Heights said his home had power restored "a couple of days after the typhoon," and his water was returned Dec. 29.

Many others are not so lucky.

Guam Power Authority spokesman Art Perez said crews are working long hours to restore the island's power system.

He said about 50 percent of the island’s power had been restored as of yesterday.

Some customers may have to wait two months before they can illuminate their living rooms with a flip of the switch.

Power officials cannot say when all island residents will have electricity again because many areas have broken power poles and transformers, and snapped lines that need to be replaced.

Power crews were working yesterday along Farenholt Avenue in Tamuning, in Liguan Terrace in Dededo, and clearing power lines and replacing power poles along Route 1.

Crews are continuing to work to restore power at schools. Crews yesterday were in Mongmong-Toto-Maite working their way towards J.Q. San Miguel Elementary School and Harvest Christian Academy. Crews were working yesterday in Talofofo to Notre Dame High School; in Canada, Barrigada to San Vicente School; along the back road to Andersen in Mangilao towards the Japanese School of Guam, Guam Community College and George Washington High School.

Perez said customers living around those schools also might be restored if minimal damage occurred in their areas.

During the weekend, some residents in Canada, Barrigada had power restored when power crews were able to get power to Carbullido Elementary School, and some Yona residents benefited when power crews relit M.U. Lujan Elementary School.

Mangilao resident Vicky Mesa said she's not as worried about power as she is about water.

Mesa's home is on the back road from the Price Elementary School intersection in Mangilao towards Pagat.

Mesa said in the 15 years she's lived there, water pressure has been low and inconsistent.

"When someone was in the shower, we couldn't flush the toilet," she said.

Mesa said a few weeks after Dec. 8's Supertyphoon Pongsona, water was restored to her Mangilao home.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "The pressure was strong and my daughter didn't yell for me to stop doing the dishes if she was in the shower."

According to Guam Waterworks Authority response activity coordinator Jude Calvo, 44 of GWA's 109 water wells are inoperable.

Calvo said, the agency's goal is to bring up one well every day, and one broken high-production well in Dededo is scheduled to be fixed today.

Luzonia Hetzel of Barrigada Heights was finally able to use her telephone a few days ago.

"I think we were one of areas last restored," Hetzel said.

Residents should call or visit Guam Telephone Authority representatives to report telephone problems, said GTA spokeswoman Luci Perez.

"People should make their reports as detailed as possible," she said, noting the agency has more than 9,000 reports of telephone outages.

Perez said 41 more T-1 cards, which allow people to make and receive calls and transfer data, are expected within the next week.

Since the storm, residents and businesses have had difficulty making 1-800 calls or using ATM and credit cards because many of the utility's T-1 cards burned because of power outages.

The agency needed a total of 200 replacement cards after Pongsona, and so far has installed 35. There is a shortage of the cards, and the agency is receiving them as quickly as the manufacturer can create and ship them, Perez said.

January 6, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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