TelEm: GEBE outages causing spike in calls about service interruptions

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POND ISLAND – TelEm Group is registering an increase in customer calls about interrupted voice and data services following outages by public utilities company GEBE.

The calls relate to internet services not working and/or mobile services not being available.

“We want customers to know that we are doing all that we can to monitor GEBE outages and ensure that all our backup power units and generators are ready to take over when GEBE load sheds,” said Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel in an invited comment Tuesday, July 12.

Etnel said there are many challenges faced in keeping the network up and running during a power outage, especially when equipment in a power outage area can adversely affect the operation of the entire mobile and data network.

“Our backup equipment is designed to take over from GEBE to maintain power for a short while until they can restore power to our many facilities, equipment and networks,” said Etnel.

She said the company is concerned that with the constant shutting down and powering up of the company’s own generators and backup power supplies, the likelihood of damage to sensitive equipment and interruptions to mobile and data services will be greater.

“We are advising customers to protect their equipment, especially their modems, as best they can by connecting them to their own UPS and surge protectors,” continued Etnel. She said customers should also unplug their modems from the mains during a power outage and only reconnect to the mains once power has been restored.

As a further precaution, customers should unplug their modems when leaving home for work in anticipation of load-shedding in their area at any time, and at least while GEBE is carrying out repairs to its own equipment.

Etnel advises customers to unplug and reconnect their modem after an outage several times before contacting the TelEm Group Help Desk for assistance.

“During the past week and usually after an outage the Help Desk receives an increased number of calls from customers seeking to get reconnected to the internet. We would ask these callers to be patient and assure them that they will be dealt with as soon as a Help Desk clerk is available,” Etnel stated.