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Belco admits to issues with new power plant

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Teething problems: Belco is working to fine-tune performance of its new power station (file photograph)

Belco has admitted that there are “reliability” issues with its new power station following a series of recent power outages across the island.

The electricity provider built a new $110 million power station and today a spokesman for the company acknowledged that the plant still needs to be “fine-tuned”.

And company president Wayne Caines urged the public to be patient “as we work through teething pains” with the new station.

A spokesman for Belco said last night: “Work continues to fine tune the operational efficiency and reliability of the plant.

“As with all new and complex power plants, time is required to work through setting parameters to achieve the most optimal operational performance.

“Adjustments have been made during the commissioning process and continue to be made to address issues with emissions.”

Mr Caines said: “I can certainly understand and empathise with the frustration and inconvenience customers face when they unexpectedly lose power.

“We will continue to do our best to manage and repair as quickly and safely as possible. Our commitment is to provide safe, secure, reliable and cost-effective electricity to our customers and our dedicated team works to achieve this goal every day.

“We are also committed to keeping all our valued customers informed when we face unexpected outages and carry out planned work to upgrade our infrastructure.”

The statement came following another outage on Monday evening which saw around 4,000 homes lose power for several hours.

The spokesman said the cause of that outage was an “unexpected incident ... which resulted in the need to manually shed load across the island causing some customers to lose power”.

He added: “Belco has a dedicated team working on a comprehensive root cause analysis of this most recent event and will submit a report to the Regulatory Authority (RA) and adjust operations where necessary.”

The spokesman said that an investigation into last December’s island-wide blackout had been completed and a report submitted to the RA.

The spokesman said that other factors such as winter storms and kites had caused other power cuts.

He said: “Such events cannot be predicted but when they do happen, Belco crews are on stand-by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to immediately respond, repair infrastructure and restore power.”

The company is now engaged in a three-year, $54 million grid and infrastructure upgrade that will ensure a more robust and resilient grid.

The spokesman said: “Part of this grid modernisation project includes replacing underground cables, most of which are over 60 years old.

“AMI meters are also being installed across the island which will provide, more accurate reporting of outages resulting in more efficient restoration of electricity to our customers.”

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Published March 19, 2021 at 11:03 am (Updated March 19, 2021 at 11:03 am)

Belco admits to issues with new power plant

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