Personnel at the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s Randolph Harley Power Plant restored full electric power to the St. Thomas-St. John district just before noon Tuesday, capping a near eight-hour long electric service interruption caused by human error.
According to a news release issued by WAPA Tuesday afternoon, the islandwide service interruption began shortly after 4 a.m. after an error during fuel operations.
“We initially thought the service interruption was triggered by a hard surge that impacted the power plant, but further inspection of the alarms and warning systems revealed that an error in the manner in which fuel was being transferred from one storage tank to another resulted in the failure of both generating units that were online at the time," WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said. "The service interruption affected all feeders and disrupted electric service at the power plant.”
For eight hours, plant and line personnel worked feverishly to restart three generating units – 14, 23 and 25 – in an effort to develop enough generation capacity to meet the demand for service and restore all feeders, Hodge said.
Feeder restoration began shortly after 10 a.m. and all service was restored to the district just before noon.
In the days ahead, Hodge said WAPA will scrutinize the actions that resulted in in the service interruption to determine if adjustments are required in the fuel operations protocol and to ensure that this type of error does not reoccur.
“I thank the authority’s employees who worked tirelessly to assist in the restoration effort. I would also like to extend sincere apologies to the public for the inconvenience and thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we worked through the morning hours to restore electrical service,” Hodge said.