Total blackout

BL&P probes cause of island wide outage

The island’s only power company is still trying to determine the underling reason for a near seven-hour island wide blackout that virtually ground the country to a standstill.

Some places of business were forced to shut down and send workers home when it became too uncomfortable to function, while employees at some commercial businesses sat idle for hours as they waited for the power to be restored.

Among the areas affected were the courts, where proceedings were called off, and the Barbados Water Authority.

Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) said in a statement this afternoon that the outage occurred approximately 5:55 a.m. as a result of “a fault” at its Whitepark substation and that investigations were continuing into the cause of the fault.

BL&P said areas along the south of the island, including parts of St Philip, were restored shortly after 7 a.m., while other affected customers in Bridgetown and its outskirts, some central and eastern areas were restored by 10:27.

“Service to the remaining affected customers in the north and west of the island was restored by 12:48 p.m. Some lines had to be restored manually in the field. Investigations into the cause of the fault are ongoing,” the statement said.

When the Barbados TODAY team visited The City, customers were seen standing outside stores waiting for the doors to open.

Corporate Communications and Customer Care Manager of Cave Shepherd Mark Anthony Thornhill said the store opened an hour-and-a-half later that the scheduled
opening time.

“We realized pretty early that it was out so we made contact with the Barbados Light & Power and they assured us that they had their technicians on the job and were
trying to restore power to Bridgetown as soon as possible,” he said.

“We let our customers who would have been outside know that even though we have stand-by power, the generator does not facilitate the use of air condition, so we didn’t want them shopping in an uncomfortable environment and, as you could imagine, it was warm.”

Store Manager of Abeds Hassan Towini said his business experienced minimal disruption because the generator was sufficient, although there were limitations. “We had no problem because the light were on, [the only setback being] our generator could not power the escalator and air condition,” Towini said.

2 Responses to Total blackout

  1. Tony Webster September 2, 2016 at 5:20 am

    On the bright side, we have been afforded a “test-run” as to what can- and will- happen, should we be hit by any serious, storm, or hurricane, or even if nice terrorist folks actually “get a mind” to blow-up a sub-station (latter will take a bit longer longer to fix, getting replacement equipment here, and installed-maybe…like a month??? A dear Friend of mine, now retired from top desk at BL&P, and a bit of a genius, was point guy to install the SCADIA telemetry-computerised network-control system at BL&P in the 1980’s. SCADIA not only monitored the entire sub-station & network by dedicated microwave radio, back to BL&P’s master-control room, in real-time, for load; load-distribution optimisation; incipient faults (so these could be pre-empted and brown/black-outs avoided); but if something really broke, SCADIA would instantly instruct the sub-stations to re-arrange loads and cross-feeding network sections. If absolutely necessary, SCADIA would isolate a particular locale , thereby maintaining the remaining 95% of the country’s supply. Brilliant, I thought!!

    WHAT HAPPENED TO SCADIA-( or son of SCADIA, since our technology nowadays must be even better…right?

    Hold the PR guff; give us Proper Explanation, please , BL&P/EMERA?

  2. Andy Toppin September 3, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Tony…a month is nothing some territories have been without power for up to 6 months as BLP can attest to when the go in to assist after storms…What really bothers me more than electricity is water as soon as we are without power for and duration then water is gone because the BWA is extremely dependent on BLP they need to have standby power at all pumping stations.Maybe BWA can update the public on that.


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