Salem residents wait for food vouchers

Montserrat’s Power Supply Remains Vulnerable, Food Voucher Programme Begins

The Government of Montserrat’s Food Voucher Relief Programme began on Thursday.

Residents in both the Salem and Lookout districts were the first to collect the vouchers. In Salem, residents stood in the sun for an average of 90 minutes to collect the $300 in vouchers which can be used in 15 local supermarkets.

The scheme became necessary as a result of the island wide outages in July due to massive failures of the aged generators at the Montserrat Utilities Ltd. power plant.

While the island’s power supply has been relatively stable over the past two weeks, aside from a few short outages, there is still much to be done.

According to a joint statement from Governor Sarah Tucker, Premier Joseph Farrell And Deputy Premier Dr Samuel Joseph, who form the Central Coordination Group managing the electricity and water challenges, parts are on order for two of the generators.

The CCG met on Tuesday morning to review the current situation following several weeks of extended outages which crippled some businesses and frustrated residents and visitors.

Parts are on order for both Generator #3 and #6, and expected on island in the next couple of weeks.

“Once these Generators have been fixed this will bring some resilience to the power supply on island,” the statement read. “With funding of up to £1.3 million provided by the UK Government, as part of the Critical Equipment funding, and a number of high speed generators identified and viewed, Mr Kendall Lee, Manager of Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL), has travelled to Miami to assess the suitability of the units that are available and will be providing a report shortly.

“Once the findings are assessed, a decision will be made on placing an order. This additional generator is expected to be installed and operational by the end of September 2023. Until all of these aspects are completed, there is still a risk of power outages,” the statement continued.

The island’s water supply which had become critical due to the extended power outages has been rectified, the group said. “A review has been completed of the generator back up capacity, this will be assessed as part of overall power delivery. Working with the UK Government, a task force will be set up, drawing on expertise across utilities, to complete a detailed assessment of needs and develop an implementation plan with the objective of long-term resilience for Power, Water and Sewerage.”

The Central Coordination Group meets weekly stay on top of the situation to “deliver all utilities on a sustainable basis. This work does not replace or influence ongoing work on green energy,” ended the statement.