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Rolling Power Outages Should Subside

Aug. 14, 2007 – After two days of rolling power outages on St. Thomas and St. John, the V.I. Water and Power Authority is optimistic that things will run smoothly on Wednesday.
"Barring any unforeseen circumstances," "WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn said at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
WAPA was forced into rolling outages because it couldn't meet the peak load needs at its Krum Bay, St. Thomas power plant, according to Dunn. Various portions of St. Thomas and St. John were out for about two hours at a time throughout Monday and Tuesday.
Dunn said WAPA had four power generating units down, including two of its workhorses – Units 13 and 23.
Unit 13 suffered a transformer explosion July 17 that injured five college students working for the summer and knocking power out for nearly 12 hours on St. Thomas and St. John.
Dunn said it was shut down this time because its boilers had a leak. However, by Tuesday evening, repairs on Unit 13 were nearly done and WAPA crews were working to bring it on line.
"It's seems like it's coming up okay," Dunn said.
Meanwhile, Dunn said, Unit 23 is down for routine maintenance.
Unit 14 is also down for repairs and maintenance and Unit 22 is off island for repairs, she said.
Dunn urged WAPA customers to conserve energy.
She said the problem is directly related to WAPA's money shortage. She said the agency is owed $18. 8 million, much of it from local government agencies.
Dunn said that WAPA has tried for three years in a row to do preventive maintenance on Unit 13 and to buy transformers.
"We finally scraped together the money in January, but there's a whole year of lead time," she said, adding that WAPA is spending $1.5 million to buy and install two used transformers from Puerto Rico Electric Co.

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