HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 24) - The target date for 99 percent power restoration on Guam is Feb. 8 – two months after Supertyphoon Pongsona slammed the island.

But customers may get their power earlier than planned as crews continue to work at a faster pace than expected, according to Guam Power Authority interim General Manager John Benavente.

"We will be restoring power to those customers that can be restored, no later than the eighth. And we are ahead of that schedule," Benavente said. "Thereafter we'll begin the process of strengthening the system and beginning permanent repairs including transmission lines and all the other line work."

As of Wednesday night, 81 percent of GPA customers have their power restored. The island lost power

Benavente said residents who have transformer problems or down lines should have their power restored by then with the help of seven bucket trucks scheduled to arrive today. He said the remaining one percent of customers who may not get their power before the target date include homes that were destroyed during Supertyphoon Pongsona.

"At that point it is out of our control," Benavente said.

The homes that are not ready to receive power will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis when they are repaired and prepared to receive power, Benavente said.

Crews will do "sweeps" around the island in the next few days to determine which areas still do not have power, Benavente said.

"A sweep is where we station different crews to different parts throughout the island and they'll be going to the villages, and repairing those isolated areas, those with transformer problems," Benavente said.

Benavente said the power agency is getting help from crews from private contractors and linemen from Saipan and Pohnpei. Seven bucket trucks arriving from off island today will bring the total number of trucks to 45.

"That has been a major problem since Day One here -- not enough trucks," Benavente said. "We rented every bucket truck on island."

According to power agency response activity coordinator Greg Manglona, crews yesterday were working in areas including: Lalo Street in Barrigada; Old Price Road in Mangilao; Cross Island Road from Tarzan Falls to the old Guam Racetrack; the old Guam airport terminal and cargo area; Santa Rosa in Yigo; Swamp Road and Y-Sengsong in Dededo; and Pagat, Mangilao.

Two Guam Waterworks Authority wells were taken off line yesterday for minor repairs but are expected to be operational today, according to response activity coordinator Joseph Garrido. As of yesterday, 93 of the 109 wells were working and producing more than 27 million gallons of water, Garrido said.

Garrido said areas that continue to experience low to no water pressure include parts of Agana Heights, Barrigada, Dededo and Harmon.

Guam Telephone Authority crews repaired about 274 phone lines yesterday, said GTA response activity coordinator Fred Guerrero. As of yesterday, there were 10,249 reported outages, Guerrero said, adding that repair work continues islandwide.

Gov. Felix Camacho is asking residents to pitch in tomorrow at a cleanup event. Residents are asked to meet at 6:30 a.m. at Paseo de Susana in Hagåtña.

"This is a way to get the entire community involved from the private sector to GovGuam. We have well over a thousand or more volunteers that are coming out from the hotel industry, the visitor industry, the private businesses and, of course, GovGuam workers," Camacho said.

January 24, 2003

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