WAPA promises rolling blackouts will get better today

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ST. THOMAS - The last two days of rolling blackouts on St. Thomas should be coming to an end, according to V.I. Water and Power Authority officials.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said the last feeder was brought online about 9:30 p.m. Monday.

Monday night, WAPA issued a press release that it planned to continue rolling blackouts, but on a reduced scale, as a precaution.

Hodge said he believes the load can be managed by asking hotels and other large consumers that have generators to use their generator power instead of drawing from the grid.

"If it's a very hot day, we might need a little rotation," Hodge said.

He said they would put out a rotating blackout schedule today, but hopefully they will not have to use it.

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.

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

Hodge said plant personnel was 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 Monday night, at about 9 p.m.

Unit 18 needs a part for the control system, Hodge said.

They 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.

The part is expected to arrive at 1 p.m. today, and should not take long to install, according to Hodge. He anticipates Unit 18 will be up and running by the late afternoon.

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

- Contact Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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