The Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) has advised members of the public to be wary of guy-wires or ‘stay’ wires.
The warning follows the March 18, 2017 death of Tony Charlery, 42, of Palmiste, Soufriere by suspected electrocution.
Charlery is reported to have held on to a stay wire as he walked down a slope on his way home.
LUCELEC has expressed condolences to the family and said it is cooperating with the investigation into the death.
But the company said it would not comment on the details of an active investigation.
LUCELEC’s Chief Engineer, Goodwin D’Auvergne, told a news conference on Wednesday that while designed to be safe, stay wires, like any other part of the electricity infrastructure, should be treated with caution at all times.
He stated that it is possible possible under rare circumstances and accidentally, that a stay wire can become electrified if through some means it comes into contact with an energised conductor or energised wire
D’Auvergne said that LUCELEC conducts ongoing checks.
But he disclosed that the company has up to 30,000 utility poles.
“We definitely have a maintenance schedule where we go around and check all those stays periodically,” D’Auvergne said.
He explained that stay wires provide stability to free standing structures such as utility poles and assist in keeping them upright.
D’Auvergne told reporters that the wires are usually attached to the top of the poles and are secured in the ground at the other end.
D’Auvergne said that by design, the wires do not carry electricity.
He explained that LUCELEC’s stay wires conform to international standards and local regulations.
The LUCELEC Chief Engineer said the wires include insulation.
“Under normal conditions these insulators prevent voltage from occurring on the metal part of the stay wire which is accessible to the public,” D’Auvergne told today’s news conference.