Oil Leak Sets off District Wide Power Outage; No Current on St. John for Most of Day

WAPA’s St. John sector map shows the different sections of the island and the corresponding feeders which supply power to the area. Last week’s outage lasted until about 6 p.m. for sections 3, 4 and 5 while sections 1 and 2 were mostly up by noon.

A district-wide power outage brought all of St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island to a halt for the majority of the day on Wednesday, May 11.

Power across St. John went down around 7 a.m. on May 11 as a major gas turbine on St. Thomas went off line and other units, unable to handle the increased electrical demands, quickly followed, according to information from the V.I. Water and Power Authority.

“Service was interrupted to all feeders just after 7 a.m. when the 42-megawatt gas turbine Unit #23 in Randolph E. Harley Power Plant tripped off line due to an oil leak,” according to the release.

“Other units quickly dropped off line when they were unable to sustain the increased load demand as schools and businesses prepared to open for the day.”

Power on St. John was first restored out in Coral Bay and along the north shore, when residents enjoyed hearing their fans whirring by around noon. In Cruz Bay and Bordeaux, the electricity was not back until around 6 p.m.  when WAPA service was fully restored in the district.

“By noon, service has been fully restored to several feeders serving the St. Thomas/St. John district,” according to WAPA’s media release. “By 2 p.m., technicians were able to bring steam turbine Unit #11 on line and restore several more feeders. By 6 p.m., Unit #23 was back in service and all feeders had been fully restored.”

The public utility operator apologized to its customers in the release as well.

“WAPA apologizes to its customers for any inconveniences that occurred throughout the day due to the service interruptions,” according to the release.

To report service problems to WAPA during regular business hours, customers should call 774-3552. For emergencies or to report issues after hours, call 774-1424.