Leaky roof knocks out power to St. Croix
Published: September 19, 2012
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ST. CROIX - Heavy rain and a small undetected leak in the roof of one of the V.I. Water and Power Authority's generating units tripped the unit offline Tuesday morning, causing all of St. Croix to lose power for about an hour.
Workers were able to return power to part of the island after about an hour and got the remainder up a little more than two hours after the power initially went down, said WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn.
"Everything is back to normal now," Dunn said Tuesday afternoon.
There had been other weather-related outages earlier Tuesday morning, she said.
Shortly after 10 a.m., Feeders 6 and 10 experienced outages, after trees in the Morningstar area affected the lines, causing power surges and taking out those feeders, Dunn said. Those problems were fixed in short order.
A short time later, though - between 10:45 and 11 a.m. - the problems with the generating unit at Richmond Power Plant started, Dunn said.
A break in a seal on the roof of the Number 17 gas turbine generator caused the generator to trip offline, she said.
The break in the seal "had not been detected in the most recent regular maintenance," she said, adding that with the heavy rain, water got in - and "oil and water don't mix."
"The unit shut itself down, and as is supposed to happen, the protective system of the entire plant shut itself down to protect the generating units," Dunn said.
Workers were able to bring Unit 14 back up, repair the seal and get five of the nine feeders up by about noon, Dunn said. The remainder of the feeders were brought back to service by 1:15 p.m. or so, she said.
"They were able to bring the unit back up, repair the seal and get everyone back online, and now they're in the process of reinforcing the roof of that particular generator," Dunn said. "They fixed it, but now they're doing additional work to reinforce it."