Bad fuel leaves Brac powerless

Cayman Brac lost its power supply on Tuesday due to contaminated fuel.

Diesel used to power Cayman Brac Power and Light’s engines was contaminated with gasoline or some other type of fuel, according to the power company’s general manager, Jonathan Tibbetts.

‘We are not putting the blame on anyone,’ he said. ‘We don’t know at this stage if it was our problem or not.’

The contamination affected 20,000 gallons of fuel.

The fuel has been sent to Miami for testing to establish at what point the contamination happened and exactly what the contaminant is.

Mr. Tibbetts said samples were taken at four different stages of operations to determine where the contaminated fuel entered the system.

‘We should have an answer by Monday or Tuesday,’ he said.

The contaminated fuel caused three fuel injectors to seize up on Tuesday evening, and all 12 of the company’s fuel injectors had to be shut down and replaced.

The power outage started at 10.53pm on Tuesday night at the eastern and southern parts of the Brac and on the Bluff. Power was briefly restored there for an hour and a half Wednesday morning, before going out again until 3pm on Wednesday.

Cayman Brac Power and Light ordered replacement injectors from the Caribbean Utilities Company around 1am Wednesday morning and they were flown to the Brac on Cayman Airways Express at 6am.

Mr Tibbetts said the contaminated diesel had cost the utilities company about $100,000.

Power to the western part of the Brac remained on line for all but 90 minutes while power was briefly restored to other parts of the island, but Mr. Tibbetts said the system quickly became overloaded and the power had to be cut off again until it was fully restored.

The island is still recovering from damage caused by Hurricane Paloma last year and its supply of generators, which may have fuelled the power company’s generators, are not back to their full complement yet.

The power company’s fuel is supplied by Texaco. Mr. Tibbetts said Brac Power and Light was working closely with the fuel company to determine the source of the problem.