WAPA: Rolling blackouts are over on St. Thomas


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ST. THOMAS - Three days of rolling blackouts caused by two broken generators have ended on St. Thomas, V.I. Water and Power Authority officials said Wednesday.

While a rotation schedule was released Tuesday night to be used Wednesday, it was not needed and there were no blackouts, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said Wednesday 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.

As Unit 18 was taken down for maintenance, the utility's standby generator, Unit 14, was supposed to take its place.

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

When plant personnel tried to put Unit 18 back into service, it also would not start.

WAPA had a replacement part for Unit 14 and that unit was repaired and back in service Monday night.

The part for Unit 18's control system had to be flown in Tuesday, but it arrived later than expected, Hodge said.

Crews worked through the night Tuesday on the repairs, and while a rotation schedule was released for Wednesday, it was not used, he said.

WAPA has Unit 25, a temporary generator that it leases to cover situations such as this, but that unit already was covering the load of Unit 23.

"Unit 25 is meant to be an additional resource, but that doesn't help when you have three units down," Hodge said.

Hodge said the utility tried to use the VI Alert system to inform the public about the rotation schedules, but something went wrong and many people did not get the messages.

"We're trying to figure that part out," he said.

Unit 23 is scheduled to be back online next week, at which point Unit 14 will go back to being on stand-by.

Hodge said Unit 15 will be the next generator to come down for conversion to propane.

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

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