St. Thomas Faces Rotating Outages Due to Unit 15 Malfunctions, Diesel Shortage

Rotating power outages expected through Friday evening as WAPA repairs faulty fuel pump to Unit 15. (Photo illustration by the Source)

St. Thomas residents can expect continued rotating power outages through Friday evening as the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority grapples with repairs to Unit 15 and a low diesel supply.

The latest outage hit Thursday afternoon after malfunctions were discovered in Unit 15. According to WAPA spokeswoman Shanell Petersen, the unit first required repairs to its fuel nozzles earlier this week. While those repairs were completed, restarting the unit revealed a faulty auxiliary fuel pump, a critical component for running on propane.

Compounding the issue is a current shortage of diesel fuel, which Unit 15 can use as an alternative. To manage the peak load until a diesel shipment arrives late Friday, WAPA announced rotating outages starting Thursday at 5 p.m. and continuing through Friday at 10 p.m.

Petersen assured residents that the outages are not due to a lack of fuel payment, but rather technical problems with aging equipment, some exceeding 20 years in service.