WAPA outages plague islands

A three-day spate of power outages in the St. Thomas-St. John district has been linked to faulty equipment and a fatal car accident, according to the V.I. Water and Power Authority.

The latest outage Monday was linked to equipment failure at the hurricane-damaged Donald Francois Electrical Substation in Long Bay. Plant personnel rebuilt generation capacity to restore service shortly before 6 a.m., according to a WAPA statement.

About an hour later, the high voltage breaker on a dispatched unit tripped and it subsequently fell offline. Two other units remained online allowing plant personnel to more quickly restore service to affected customers. By early afternoon, the electric grid was normalized.

Early Sunday morning, a fatal car accident in Estate Nazareth caused damage to a WAPA pole as well as to transmission lines. When the lines were damaged, there was an adverse effect on the Tutu electrical substation that interrupted service to customers on the East End of St. Thomas and St. John.

Line Department crews returned to the accident site on Sunday morning to make temporary repairs to the damaged electrical equipment. Customers on a portion of Feeder 9C experienced an approximate 90-minute outage Sunday while the repairs were underway.

On Saturday afternoon, a faulty fire detector in a WAPA-owned generator led to the shutdown of the unit and caused a cascading effect on other active generators leading to a subsequent districtwide power outage.

Using other generating units, plant personnel rebuilt capacity to restore electrical service to all customers shortly after 8 p.m., according to WAPA.

In all instances, customers on St. Thomas, St. John, Water Island and Hassel Island were affected.