General Manager of the British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation (BVIEC), Leroy Abraham said that he is thankful that Phase V of the power project was completed last year as he explained that this is the main power supply in the Territory at this time.
The Phase V Power Development Programme featured Wartsila generators which added an extra 24.4 MW to the current national electricity grid and were installed last year. It also included the installation of two 34.5 KV transmission cables from Pockwood Pond to Long Bush.
Now that hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated the Territory’s network and caused an extensive power outage, the General Manager said that the project has been completed. “High praise and thanks to God for that extension which was commissioned and handed over to us in May 2017 because that extension is what is maintaining power in the BVI following the hurricanes in September,” Abraham announced.
The General Manager explained: “Since the hurricanes: Station B, which was the most recently commissioned, saw the handing over ceremony in May; that is what is maintaining the lights on in the Territory so thank God we were able to finalize that project on time and had it handed over to us.”
In further pointing out how critical the Phase V additions are to the BVIEC at this time the General Manager noted how much damage the Corporation sustained. “The older section of the power station that we call station A – lost practically all of its roof. As well we know water and electricity do not mix, so based on the significant water ingress from hurricane Irma and then hurricane Maria which was two weeks later a lot of water was in the power station.”
“One of our buildings that house the transmission distribution department was totally levelled. Our IT department lost its roof completely and there was severe damage to our administration office as well. At this point and stage we are, like most of the Territory, addressing insurance so that we can restore our premises,” the BVIEC General Manager added.
Abraham explained that in trying to re-commission or start up the power station after the whole cleaning exercise was done a certain section of that facility actually exploded because of moisture in the power station.
Now, he said the BVIEC is trying to get its stations in order: “Right now we are in the process of addressing our insurance claims which will put us in a position to start doing the necessary modifications and repairs which are necessary to our headquarters,” the General Manager mentioned. He added that teams are still in the Territory assisting and other help will be returning to the Territory to secure that power is 100 percent reconnected.