Rolling blackouts expected to end after today


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ST. THOMAS - While V.I. Water and Power Authority officials could make no promises, they expect that today should hold few rolling blackouts for St. Thomas, and that today should be the last day for the rationing schedule.

"We will be working all through the night," WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said Tuesday night.

The power to the island went down Sunday when Unit 23 was down for preparations ahead of the conversion to propane, and WAPA lost Unit 14 and Unit 18.

Repairs began Tuesday on Unit 18 at the Randolph Harley Power Plant, and officials expect that repairs will finished today. Crews had to wait for a control system part through Tuesday morning, according to Hodge.

WAPA did not have a spare part for that system because, when the conversion to propane occurs, the old control system will be replaced, Hodge said.

As a precautionary measure, despite the completion of repairs, and to ensure stability of the system, the reduced emergency feeder rotation schedule which was established for Tuesday will be in effect today, according to Hodge.

"We expect that tomorrow will be better than today," he said.

On Tuesday, WAPA did not use the full extent of the feeder schedule, Hodge said. The majority of the blackouts scheduled were cancelled, and those that remained lasted about an hour or less, he said.

Unit 23 is scheduled to be back up and in service next week.

Hodge said when Sunday's outages began, plant personnel were taking Unit 18 down for maintenance and planned to put Unit 14 into service in the meantime.

However, Unit 14's starting diesel engine failed and the generator would not start.

"We had a spare, but it takes a while to install it," Hodge said.

It was finally installed about 9 p.m. Monday night.

For more information on rotating blackouts and to see a feeder map, go to www.viwapa.vi.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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