St Helena : POWER INTERRUPTIONS 13 - 16 OCTOBER 2012
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 20.10.2012 (Article Archived on 03.11.2012)
The public will be aware of the Island-wide power outage that occurred on the evening of Saturday 13 October.
POWER INTERRUPTIONS 13 - 16 OCTOBER 2012
The public will be aware of the Island-wide power outage that occurred on the evening of Saturday 13 October. After close inspection by the Energy Division, the causes of the outage were found to be a fallen tree on the lines and a broken bell insulator - both helped on their way by the recent bad weather.
Head of Energy, Barry Hubbard said:
“It was a surprise to find this level of deterioration had occurred so quickly after a 100% inspection of this line with every pole climbed (during the weekly Tuesday and Thursday planned outages in 2009), and likewise in 2011 when there was an Island-wide inspection of trees along the HV routes, and contracts were awarded to cut back 2.5 metres. Although faults relating to trees are now much reduced, occasionally one manages to fall, damaging the lines. Bush clearance has now been extended to the LV network where work is ongoing to prevent vegetation and electricity coming into contact.”
Although both faults were rectified by 5pm on Monday afternoon, the HV line that had fallen burned out some Cable & Wireless equipment mounted on the pole and it was Cable & Wireless who first spotted the fallen insulator when they were tracking their own fault. Power was restored on Monday but some households were still without telephone service. Therefore, Tuesday’s power had to be switched off again for a few hours, to allow Cable & Wireless to work safely.
Historically the Island had four dedicated feeders but now with Feeder 5 and the HV links installed over the last four years, much of the Island is more secure in its energy provision.
“When works take place or faults occur consumers are being back fed with electricity without even knowing it – to minimise any disruption. Unfortunately from the Scotland to Blue Hill area there is no method of back feeding, so this area is as vulnerable as it ever was and the extensive inspection works in 2009 were designed to mitigate this.
“I hope that this explains the facts surrounding what happened and some of the things that have been done to improve the network reliability. But I also understand this is of little comfort to someone sat in the dark not knowing when their power is going to come back on. The Energy Team and our contractor partners work hard to maintain consumer supplies but sometimes we find ourselves in the situation where circumstances, such as the weather, work against us.”
Infrastructure and Utilities Directorate
17 October 2012