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St. Croix Power System Going Down Again

Jan. 10, 2005 – The problem Sunday causing an all-day blackout on St. Croix is not quite fixed.
The V.I. Water and Power Authority will have a power interruption of approximately one hour at 4 a.m. on Tuesday to complete final repairs to the 24.9 KV Richmond substation.
Temporary repairs were made to restore the system on Sunday and Tuesday morning's repairs will be to return the system to a normal operating mode.
The outage on Sunday, so soon after a major outage on St. Croix on Christmas, has residents wondering just how reliable WAPA's service is.
Cassandra Dunn, spokesperson for WAPA, said Monday, "Systems fail."
She said, in this case, the system was just protecting itself by shutting down after an insulator had blown. She said it took WAPA crews about two hours to find out what had shut down the system and then the rest of the 12 hours the power was off to repair the problem.
Residents were also upset Sunday because no phone contact could be made with WAPA to find out how long the power would be out. Rumors spread that power would be out for a week and there was a major rush to stores for supplies.
Dunn said WAPA was very frustrated about the phones being knocked out too. She said, it being a weekend, contributed to the problem because most of the phones were programed with answering messages.
She said WAPA would be going to the "drawing boards" to see what can be done with the phone system.
A complaint was also made that those who contacted WAPA in St. Thomas were told that St. Thomas had no connection with St. Croix.
According to Dunn, St. Thomas and St. Croix were in direct contact at all times during the crisis.
Dunn said that many of the recent outages have been outside the control of WAPA – caused by vehicle accidents or the weather causing two lines to cross.
The areas affected Tuesday morning will be Feeders 8, 9 and 10 which cover the central and western half of the island.
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