A breaker failure on Unit 15 at the Water and Power Authority’s St. Thomas generating plant Monday evening caused a new round of blackouts, just as the authority was preparing to publish a tentative schedule for rotating planned outages until the breaker was back online.
It was the third power outage in as many nights, as WAPA’s crew has worked overtime Saturday and Sunday to deal with blackouts that, at one point, affected the entire St. Thomas-St. John district.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday, service was interrupted to sections of feeder 6A while the power plant implemented generation protective measures prompted by complications to Unit 23 over the Easter weekend, and awaiting Unit 25’s return to service from routine maintenance. Unit 23, WAPA’s so-called "workhorse unit," is undergoing necessary repairs, and Unit 25 won’t be available until early Tuesday.
With these units temporarily out of service, the authority was expecting to be short on generation for the district and anticipated rotating service interruptions to pockets of feeders, as the need arose, in order to ensure stability of the system.
At approximately 7:45 p.m., a small fire/flashover forced Unit 15 to go offline, causing immediate service interruption to feeders 7A, 9D, 7C and 7E. Thankfully there were no injuries as a result of the flashover.
The unit is being assessed to determine the cause and extent of damage to the unit.
As a result of the loss of Unit 15, feeder rotations were implemented. These rotations will continue until the utility has enough generation capacity to sustain all customers.
In its statement released late Monday, the authority apologized for the inconvenience caused by the emergency interruptions.
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