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Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Friday, June 8, 2024. (Photo: Facebook/API)
Arnos Vale Sports Complex on Friday, June 8, 2024. (Photo: Facebook/API)
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CEO of VINLEC, Vaughn Lewis says the island-wide blackout on Sunday, the second in a week, was not caused by the installation of floodlights at Arnos Vale Sports Complex.

“And, quite frankly, if those lights can cause a system failure, we will be quite embarrassed,” Lewis said on WE FM on Sunday when electricity consumers across St. Vincent were left without power for two hours.

“No. It has nothing to do with the installation of lights at Arnos Vale Playing Field.”

There was also an island-wide blackout on June 2 that lasted 4 hours and 15 minutes, which the company also said was not linked to the floodlights.

“When we had the system failure last week, the lights were not on,” Lewis said.

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“In fact, the lights were connected to our system during the course of last week after the system failure. And the lights have been running. They’ve been testing the lights on our system, the last two nights, I think,” Lewis said.

He said that both blackouts were caused by a switchgear issue at VINLEC’s Lowmans Bay Power Plant, which the company is working to repair and is hoping that there will be no more blackouts in the interim.

“… when the first system failure occurred, the lights were not yet connected to our system, we have not energised that aspect of the work there. So, our first system failure was not related to the lights. And the second system failure was not related to the lights because the lights are not currently on,” he said.

Lewis said that his understanding is that generators would be the primary power for the floodlights during the cricket World Cup matches, which led to their installation.

“And my understanding, the reason that is so is because it’s a faster switchover. So, if you are being powered from VINLEC and there is an issue on the feeder, it takes the generators a little while to start up. But if you run the system from the generators and the generators have a problem, you can very quickly switch over to VINLEC because we are there and we are waiting,’ Lewis said.

Meanwhile, in a statement Sunday night, VINLEC apologised for the outage, saying that restoration efforts were initiated immediately, and power was successfully restored to the entire island within two hours.

“We recognise that the outages experienced today, 9th June, and last week, 2nd June, were caused by an insulation failure on VINLEC’s 33kV switchgear at the Lowmans Bay Power Plant,” the company said.

VINLEC said that despite these challenges, its system’s built-in redundancies allowed the company to isolate the affected area on the switchgear, ensuring the continuity of island-wide operations.

“This morning’s island-wide outage was specifically triggered by a switching procedure related to internal repairs to a section of the switchgear. We are currently awaiting parts from our suppliers to complete other aspects of the repairs.”

VINLEC said it was the first time it encountered an insulation failure with one of its switchgear that is unrelated to external factors like floods.

“Switchgears are the backbone of our electrical network, and we assure all customers that resolving this issue is our top priority.

“VINLEC’s dedicated teams continue to work on restoring any lost redundancies, and we are committed to maintaining a stable electricity supply to all customers until the final repairs of the switchgear are completed. We deeply appreciate the patience and understanding shown by our customers as we work to resolve this matter promptly,” the company said. 

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1 Comment

  1. Western nations own all the technology to improve and expand their infrastructure. All poor islands have are Lawyers and Politicians. It would indeed be a shame when we can’t even maintain a simple cricket match.

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