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DOMLEC engages with Fond Cole community on generation updates and plans

As a responsible, progressive, and involved corporate citizen, Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC) values its relationships with customers across the island. It is in that spirit that DOMLEC is engaged with the community in the vicinity of its Fond Cole generation station to establish a forum for sharing operational updates and addressing residents’ questions.

“A community-based Committee has shared questions with DOMLEC about operations at the Fond Cole generating station,” said Dave Stamp, Generation Manager. “In July 2020, we were pleased for the chance to meet representatives of the Group to hear the details and provide responses. We are aware that the information provided by DOMLEC at that meeting may not have been shared more broadly into the community, so we wanted to correct that today.”

The Committee asked DOMLEC representatives at the meeting, including Mr. Stamp, about noise emitting from the plant. Mr. Stamp explained the impacts of Hurricane Maria on the generating station and surrounding vegetation that has led to increased noise emission.

“The storm destroyed much of the structure around the generating units and, in the interest of serving the energy needs of our customers, we have maintained operations at Fond Cole while installing and upgrading the units’ infrastructure including acoustic enclosures,” said Mr. Stamp. “Further, with the loss of surrounding vegetation due to Maria, which works as an effective sound absorber, residents are hearing more noise from the plant than is normal. That will lessen over time with regrowth.”

DOMLEC confirmed that they routinely carry out noise level tests at Fond Cole on a regular basis, and test results have consistently shown levels that are below Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards of 90 decibels or less at its perimeters. 

“As I shared with the Committee,” added Mr. Stamp, “DOMLEC undertakes regular noise emission surveys at least once a year, and more frequently in recent times. As we continue our rebuild of the plant enclosures, we’ll continue to monitor noise levels in the interests of the health and well-being of area residents.” 

In addition, the Fond Cole Committee asked about black smoke that emits on occasion from the plant, and its possible impact on the health of the surrounding community. At the meeting, Mr. Stamp explained that when engines startup, the combustion process is not at its best efficiency, thus it produces a temporary emission of black smoke into the air. “I appreciated the concern shared by the Committee, and have committed to engage with our Health and Safety section in doing regular emissions testing to ensure our levels continue to be maintained within a range that does not impact the health of surrounding communities.”

Ms. Bertilia McKenzie, DOMLEC’s General Manager, assures customers that the company will follow up on all actions taken and share updates with the public. “DOMLEC is an integral part of the communities island-wide, and our employees proudly serve customers safely and reliably. We know there will always be room for improvement in our operations, and we are committed to providing our customers with service that safeguards and preserves the health, wellness, and safety of residents.”

DOMLEC advised that, by mid-August 2020, it will share a plan with the Fond Cole Committee outlining the company’s initiatives to manage the impact of its operations on the residents of the area. Further, it will commit to a schedule of community engagements to enable regular, timely, and ongoing information-sharing.