Restoration of power island-wide in less than 24 hours a Herculean task
(Basseterre, St. Kitts): Residents of St. Kitts were without power for more than twenty-four hours from approximately 7:15 am on Thursday, November 12 due to a localised fire at the St. Kitts Electricity Company Ltd’s (SKELEC) Needsmust Power Plant.
The fire in the plant’s main control panel resulted in the island-wide outage. A prompt response from the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services resulted in the fire being put out and an all clear given by 8:30 am.
A team of about 75 SKELEC employees, including electricians, engineers, cable technicians and maintenance technicians worked for well over 24 hours repairing and replacing the damaged cables and equipment in the Feeder Room.
Working late into the night and early on Friday morning, crews were able to return supply to the power station at approximately 3:45 am. Restoration of power began at 5:25 am, when the first feeder SSMC was placed online, with others following shortly after.
Electricity supply returned to all feeders at 8:25 am on November 13 and by 1:15 pm power was returned to all customers.
According to the SKELEC’s General Manager, Clement ‘Jomo’ Williams, the fire at the plant could have been catastrophic.
“While the exact cause of the fire at the power plant is not yet known, we are fortunate that there were no injuries at the plant,” Williams said. “Thankfully, a prompt response by our operators minimised what could have otherwise been a catastrophic situation. From a company standpoint safety is our number one priority.”
Williams said that the restoration effort was not an easy task, but he is proud that his teams were able to do so safely and promptly.
“Very few persons would understand the significant amount of physical work required to restore power after an island-wide outage caused by a fire. As such, I must express gratitude to our crews who worked tirelessly through the night and for hours to restore power,” Williams said.
The company’s next steps include an extended assessment of damage and continued repair and replacement of equipment at the powerplant.