WAPA blames its St. Thomas blackouts on Unit 23, says problems to end today

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ST. THOMAS - WAPA's "workhorse" generator on St. Thomas - Unit 23 at the Harley power plant - is struggling again and is behind the rolling blackouts for the last week island-wide, according to officials with the V.I. Water and Power Authority.

The blackouts should cease today, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said Thursday.

Unit 23 has been experiencing power shortages after heavy rains last weekend likely damaged the unit, Hodge said. At the same time, Unit 18 has been offline for repair, and WAPA has had to institute rolling blackouts on St. Thomas.

The blackouts have been affecting WAPA users' electricity since Tuesday, according to WAPA spokeswoman Jerain Fleming.

Because Unit 18 is returning from routine maintenance repairs, the blackouts should stop, Hodge said.

However, Unit 23 will be taken offline for repairs for several weeks, Fleming said. Hodge said that the cost of repairs to Unit 23 and the cost of repairs to Unit 18 are not yet known. WAPA refers to Unit 23 as its "workhorse" generator because it is capable of producing 37 megawatts of power.

Unit 23 is the utility's most recently purchased unit.

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

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