APUA working to prevent future total power failures

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APUA Headquaters

The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) electric grid is not back to 100 per cent functionality despite the entire island being restored with electricity following a massive power outage on Tuesday.

Winston Whyte, senior electrical and instrumentation engineer at the Electricity Business Unit, said the utility company is still trying to determine what went wrong with its Cassada Gardens circuit.

Whyte said the 69 circuit from Crabbs to Cassada Gardens failed at about 1:58pm yesterday, after which the authority went into investigation and repair mode in trying to get the system back up and running. Customers in the Cassada Gardens were affected then and not the rest of the island.

Whyte explained that the system is designed in such a way that if there is a failure in the main generation line the backup is engaged, so customers would not know that there is a failure as the power company would at that time seek to undertake repairs.

He noted it was during repairs on the initial breakdown that a failure appeared on its backup line, which caused the interruption to all of APUA’s customers.

“Let me just say we are not 100 per cent back to normal because when we have an island-wide failure you would imagine that the first priority is to get the system back to normal to get the customers reconnected.

“So we go into the mode of emergency repairs so that is what we did yesterday, and we did the emergency repairs at the Swetes substation and that took us about two hours and then after that we went to look at the Cassada Gardens (location), but we have not yet fully determined what happened at the Cassada Gardens circuit, so that circuit is partially restored,” Whyte said on state television this morning.

Whyte said APUA will now conduct an investigation into the island-wide blackout to determine what caused the failures, “and we will look into mitigation activities that we can do to help prevent a recurrence.”

The engineer said whenever there is an outage, APUA takes this very seriously and would work tirelessly to try to mitigate and ensure that it does not happen again.

Power was returned to entire island at 7:03 pm.

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