Power losses, both brief and of the lengthier variety, are unfortunately an integral part of island life. Bermuda relies on one power plant, BELCo, on Hamilton’s outskirts in Pembroke, to serve the island’s electricity needs. When something goes awry or a bad storm hits, Bermudians are made acutely aware of their tenuous connection to modern comforts.
Heavy winter storms and summer hurricanes usually take Bermudian homes and businesses off the grid at least temporarily. Few Bermuda homes are without flashlights, matches, lighters, candles, or batteries—the essential tools for any semblance of life after dark during power outages. Major hotels, both hospitals, and many businesses and private residences also own gas- and propane-fueled generators, which can be switched on to run basic electric needs such as showers, water pumps, stoves, and refrigerators.
Power surges are common, so make sure to unplug laptops, phones, faxes, and other sensitive equipment after an outage; when the power returns, it sometimes shuts on and off a couple of times during testing before being fully restored. Bring a surge protector with you, or purchase one at Complete Office (17 Reid St., Hamilton, tel. 441/292-4333), Computer City (45 Victoria St., Hamilton, tel. 441/292-1774), or Red Laser (8 Bakery Ln., Pembroke, tel. 441/296-6400). Call 955 to report outages via a recorded phone-in system that matches telephone number with the affected neighborhood address.
Like North America, Bermuda operates on 110-volts AC, 60 cycles, with U.S. flat-blade (two-pin) plug outlets, so any U.S.-manufactured appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons will not require voltage converters or adaptors. European visitors, however, can either bring adapters with them or purchase them at stores such as Unlimited Supplies (7 Elliott St., Hamilton, tel. 441/295-9229) or P-Tech (5 Reid St., Hamilton, tel. 441/295-5496).
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition