Residents frustrated with electricity issues in Montserrat


LOOP NEWS – The Caribbean Island of Montserrat has been experiencing intermittent power outages across the island, leaving residents weary and frustrated.  

Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL) issued a load-shedding schedule for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as work continues to improve the situation.

Listed below are the hours when each region will have electricity.


According to a statement that was issued on Tuesday, the power issues currently being experienced are due to difficulties at the Brades Power Station.

However, MUL stated that the intermittent and prolonged outages currently being experienced, are due to a number of factors including, aged generators, lack of reserve capacity, and the need for scheduled overhauls and servicing of the current working generators.

MUL has ordered one medium-speed generator which is scheduled to arrive on island November 2023.

However, frustration is beginning to set in for many. Loop News spoke with Montserratian Vickie Locker who says the power outages have been occurring for years but have gotten worse over time.

Locker said the situation has impacted daily life negatively as sleeping patterns have been disrupted, just lining up for petrol at the pump now takes hours and some people have to carpool to reach to work on time.

The electricity disruptions, she said, have also caused food contents in the refrigerator to spoil faster and appliances to be lost.

“I lost my microwave, fan, tv, washing machine and freezer because of the outages,” said Locker.

She told Loop News that the constant electricity problem is mentally frustrating, as people keep wondering when power will return every time it goes.

Locker said candles are becoming scarce on island and businesses are also feeling the negative effects of the intermittent power outages.

Another resident from Montserrat who spoke with Loop News said power would go for hours at a time and only return for 30 minutes to an hour.

This resident also confirmed that the wait for petrol is long with winding lines, as many people wait during the hours of downtime with the hope electricity would return to get petrol.

The resident told Loop News that her electronic devices have been affected and she requires a new refrigerator, with other people also complaining about food spoiling in their freezers.

And with the heat being felt in the Caribbean these days, the resident said she is lucky to have a rechargeable fan, but unfortunately has been unable to use it as the battery could not be recharged over the past few days.

She said most people have also complained about not sleeping properly because of the heat and lack of fans.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication, Works, Labour and Energy, Colin Fergus, gave an update on the power outages in Montserrat in a statement on ZJB Radio today.

He said MUL is now down to one generator operating at the plant, which has thrown the island into a bit of disarray since the weekend.

Fergus said the plant is operating with one generator (the #7 medium-speed generator) which has been running virtually non-stop for quite some time.

In addition to that, there is the one-megawatt solar plant at Lookout and Brades which is feeding into the grid somewhere between 800 and 900 kilowatts during the day which is about 50 per cent of peak demand.

Fergus said sadly, generator sets #3, 4, 5 and 6 are out of service, which means they are just relying on generator #7 and the solar farm.

He explained on the generator called #3, there was a malfunction in a circuit breaker and in order to replace that it’s about a two-week turnaround time out of Miami.

Generators #4 and #5 are both in need of major overhauls and are unable to run at all. The technical team however is trying to bring generator #5, (which was scheduled for permanent retirement after it developed a fall last year), to restore it using parts from the #4 generator.

Fergus said the public was advised that MUL was planning to do an overhaul on generator #4 and that some of the parts were already on island for that.

However, given the dire situation, the team felt it best to try and bring back generator #5 which has a greater carrying load and capacity.

Meanwhile, generator #6 has a fault which prevents it from running reliably.

That fault was diagnosed, and attempts were made to bring it back online over the weekend, but it continues to fall over whenever they put it back on.

MUL is awaiting parts which are in Antigua and should be in Montserrat tomorrow (Thursday), so hopefully, generator #6 will be able to be brought back online either tomorrow or very shortly.

The #7 generator set which is the current workhorse should have been overhauled quite some time ago, with Fergus noting it is a bit of a worry for them that it is going on this long.

He said the parts for overhauling it have been on island for quite a few months now, but they have been unable to take it offline because of all the other problems at the plant.

As soon as MUL is in a position to stabilise the electricity, the #7 generator set will be overhauled.

Fergus said a number of other options are also being looked at including providing additional engineering support on island through partners in CARILEC or wherever persons can be sourced.

He said they are also considering bringing in a temporary generator which could rest the generators and do the overhauls that are necessary.

Fergus said MUL’s technical team has been working flat out to stabilise the island’s power supply.







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