The Caribbean Utilities Company says recent power outages east of Prospect are happening because the company is working on putting a better system in place.
The company stated in a press release this week that it has been upgrading its substations and, during the transition period, the system is more susceptible to power disruptions. In the long run, it says, the upgrades will increase capacity and reliability to customers in the affected districts.
The most recent outage occurred, in part, because the Bodden Town substation is offline for refurbishment. Customers who would normally be supplied from the Bodden Town substation are being supplied from the Frank Sound or Prospect substations, and are exposed to a greater risk of outages. Lighting strikes on equipment and downed power lines were some of the events that played into the recent outages. The substation is expected to be back online by the end of June.
Customers in the Savannah, Newlands, Lower Valley, Bodden Town, Frank Sound and East End areas experienced interruptions to their electricity service between 3:32-7:41am on Sunday, 26 May. Crews worked throughout the early hours to replace equipment and restore service. Approximately 3,250 customers were affected, according to CUC. Under normal circumstances, less than half this number of customers would have been affected, the utility company said.
CUC completed similar upgrades to the South Sound, North Sound Road and Rum Point Substations in October 2018, March 2019 and April 2019, respectively.
In June, construction of a new Prospect substation is expected to commence, with completion expected in 2020. CUC is able to complete the construction with minimal exposure to outages, as the existing substation will remain in service throughout the construction period. Major upgrades to the Frank Sound substation are planned for 2021.
Following this programme of upgrades and refurbishments to the eastern substations, CUC will be able to meet foreseeable load growth with increased reliability for its customers, the company stated.