WAPA Ends Power Outages

V.I. Water and Power Authority plant technicians restored gas turbine Unit #23 to service at 11:54 a.m. today after five days of rotating power outages due to limited generating capacity in the Randolph E. Harley Power Plant.

WAPA immediately suspended the rotation schedule, which went into effect last Friday, July 18, and again Monday, July 21, and restored service to all St. Thomas and St. John feeders. 

Unit #23, a 42-megawatt generator, supplies a major portion of the capacity needed to meet the daily peak demand of 88 megawatts for both islands.
WAPA projected finishing the repairs by Wednesday, July 23, but when the part ordered for the unit’s ratchet system arrived from Germany on Monday, a day earlier than expected, plant engineers and technicians worked through the night to complete the work.

Unit #23, refused to restart last Thursday, July 17, after a transformer problem on gas turbine Unit #18 caused a shut down at the power plant.
Hugo Hodge, Jr., WAPA’s Executive Director, said at that time that the unit needed a major overhaul and it becomes increasingly difficult to start the unit each time it goes down.

Deferred maintenance is a consequence of WAPA’s continuing inability to both properly maintain its equipment and meet its continually rising fuel costs, Hodge explained.

“You can not imagine how great we feel right now,” Hodge said, clearly relieved that the generator is back in service. “It has been truly a frustrating week for us as we worked to stabilize Harley Power Plant. We know that our customers deserve reliable service and we want them to have it.”

“I want to congratulate plant maintenance and operations personnel and the line crews for their magnificent efforts during this crisis,” Hodge continued. “During the past week, I had an opportunity to witness, firsthand, employees working all day into the very early hours of every morning, refusing to leave until problem after problem was resolved.”

“These are the same employees who work around the clock to maintain power to customers while we sleep,” Hodge said. “Thanks also to the personnel in the other departments who answered telephones, assisted with the rotation schedules and gave support whenever needed as we worked through this emergency situation.”

“And our heartiest appreciation must go to our customers who were patient and cooperative during the rotation,” Hodge concluded.
Within the coming months, WAPA will return several other units now off line for major maintenance to service. At that time, Unit #23 will get a much needed overhaul.