MUL Wants New Generator to Boost Power Supply

The minister in charge of Montserrat Utilities Ltd (MUL) said he will be requesting that the cabinet support a request to fund a new generator to sure up the island’s electricity supply.

Paul Lewis, the Hon. Minister of Communications and Works said Tuesday on the ZJB Radio Breakfast Show  that he had received a request from MUL for financial support to acquire another 1.5MW medium-speed generator.

MUL is currently commissioning a new power station with a 1.5MW generator. However, the current electricity needs of the island peaks at 2.3MW. This has meant that the high speed generators which have been in operation for more than 20 years and have in recent months been experiencing major issues must remain on the grid to meet demand.

Lewis said the situation had become untenable with the old generators needing about one million dollars in upgrades to remain viable.

The minister was accompanied to the radio show by MUL Electricity Manager Kendal Lee and Project Manager Dion Weekes to provide an update following the massive power interruption on the weekend.

Kendall Lee explained that Saturday’s power cut was caused by the new 1.5MW generator tripping which led to the other generator on the grid doing the same.

The island-wide outage occurred shortly after 10AM with no warning. Lee explained that at the time the technicians were taking engine five out of commission to transfer to the new building. After efforts to put the generators back into operation failed, they took the decision to connect the new 1.7MW rented generator which had recently arrived.

Lee apologised that it had taken most of the day and into the early evening for the island to be back online. He said that residents who have complaints of damaged electrical appliances due to the outages should fill out complaint forms at either of the MUL offices.

Dion Weekes, Project Manager for the new power station said MUL is essentially running two stations now as they prepare to transition all of the generators into the new building.

Currently, the stations are producing 3400KW/3.4MW of power which is much more than the average daily demand of 2MW.

The team expects that the power station should be fully online by the end of April, once construction is complete.

In the interim, MUL will continue to use the rental unit at the cost of EC$33,000 per month. Lee said it was necessary to maintain the backup while they decommissioned the old plant and reinstalled the generators into the new system.

Minister Lewis said once Cabinet approves the requests for a new generator and to overhaul the old units, it will be up to the Minister of Finance to find the funds to assist MUL.

Listen to the full radio interview here…