A rising number of power cuts across Montserrat has been blamed on ash from the country’s active Soufrière Hills volcano. Peter White, managing director of Montserrat Utilities Ltd, told Caribbeannetnews.com that the outages have been linked to more ash falling on power lines in inhabited areas. White said the company could not control the unscheduled electricity supply interruptions because it cannot predict where the faults will happen.“When you have the ash falling on the power lines followed by the rain, the weight of it shorts out the lines and trips the feeders. It is similar to a fuse blowing,” White said.“The problem is also compounded when there are pyroclastic flows (from the volcano), which often causes lightning, and this also affects the electrical supply system.”
The news service said that since October there has been growing activity at the Soufriére Hills volcano, which led to a mass evacuation from parts of Montserrat when it erupted in 1995.Winds have also recently sent more ash into the safe zones of the island.The national water and electricity company said the fall of ash has also hampered its plans to fix one of its power generators by making it difficult to identify the specific problem areas.
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