WAPA says it has fixed St. Croix power problems
Published: July 10, 2012
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
ST. CROIX - Residents dealing with on-again, off-again power situations during the last few days should now see the end of it, V.I. Water and Power Authority officials said Monday.
WAPA experienced a number of issues in and out of the plant that caused interruption of service for many of its customers, some for hours at a time, according to WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn.
Gas turbine 16 had two different mechanical problems, she said.
Unit 20, one of the larger units, is down for a major overhaul, and another unit also is offline for maintenance, she said, Dunn said.
With just the remaining units in operation, the plant has been running extremely close to the usual demand of power, according to Dunn.
"Putting efficiency aside and looking at being more cost-effective, we have not been running a spinning reserve," Dunn said. "That means there is no backup in when the unit goes down for whatever reason."
Having a backup unit running would mean more reliable service, but it also would mean more fuel usage for WAPA, which it cannot afford, Dunn said.
Having the unit offline requires a delay of at least 20 to 30 minutes to bring a stand-by unit up when the main unit fails, according to Dunn. At this time, all of the issues inside the plant have been resolved, she said.
In addition to the in-plant issues, a number of issues in different areas around the island - rain, lightning, a pole fire, downed trees, blown fuses and other issues - contributed to the outages and were outside WAPA's control, according to Dunn.
"It has really been a challenge with the weather especially," she said.
St. Thomas plant
The Harley Plant in the St. Thomas-St. John District has two units down for overhauls, and the main unit could not meet the demand for power and tripped offline, Dunn said.
WAPA is close to resolving the long-standing issues with power outages and rolling blackouts in that district and officials expect that intermittent outages will be a thing of the past, Dunn said.
WAPA is asking residents to limit their electricity usage as much as they can to lessen the load on the plant and to limit the amount of their utility bills, according to Dunn.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.