The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

St. Lu­cia Elec­tric­ity Ser­vices Limited (LUCELEC) is un­der­tak­ing ma­jor im­prove­ments to three of its seven sub­sta­tions to re­in­force its trans­mis­sion net­work.

At two of th­ese sub­sta­tions – in Praslin and Soufriere – the work was ne­ces­si­tated by ma­jor trans­former fail­ures in Novem­ber 2011 and May 2012 re­spec­tively.

At Soufriere, work to re­place the dam­aged trans­former and up­grade the pro­tec­tion sys­tem be­gan on May 23, 2014. The ma­te­rial used in the project, like oth­ers for LUCELEC’s trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion net­work, is sourced over­seas and usu­ally has to be de­signed based on need, hence the lengthy de­lay. The sub­sta­tion was sub­se­quently com­mis­sioned and re­turned to full op­er­a­tion in De­cem­ber 2014.

LUCELEC As­sis­tant Sys­tem Plan­ning En­gi­neer Or­mond Reece says the up­grades at Soufriere will lead to im­proved re­li­a­bil­ity and power qual­ity for cus­tomers.

“Cus­tomers in Soufriere and en­vi­rons will re­ceive a much more re­li­able and bet­ter qual­ity sup­ply be­cause now they’re be­ing fed from a much closer sup­ply in Soufriere. Also, they now have three feed­ers serv­ing that area - Soufriere, Fond St. Jac­ques and Ca­cao,” he says.

In Praslin, the sub­sta­tion re­pair and up­grade is now into its sec­ond and fi­nal phase. The first phase was to en­er­gize the re­placed trans­former. This sec­ond phase will im­prove the re­li­a­bil­ity of the trans­mis­sion net­work and is ex­pected to be com­pleted in June 2015.

“There’s some work be­ing done at the sub­sta­tion and on the trans­mis­sion line be­tween Cul-de-Sac and Vieux-Fort to make it a lot more flex­i­ble so if there is a fault it doesn’t take down the en­tire line,” says Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion Manager Gil­roy Pul­tie.

A sep­a­rate over­haul of switchgear at Cas­tries sub­sta­tion was com­pleted on Fe­bru­ary 16, 2015.

“The Cas­tries sub­sta­tion near the mar­ket is the only in­door sub­sta­tion we have in St. Lu­cia for rea­sons of aes­thetics and safety. It is twenty years old now and needed to be over­hauled. The im­prove­ments we’ve made there will min­imise the risks of a ma­jor fail­ure at the sub­sta­tion that may com­pro­mise the re­li­a­bil­ity of the sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to the city,” says Mr Pul­tie.

The re­pairs and im­prove­ments are be­ing done at a to­tal cost of five mil­lion dol­lars and will min­imise the like­li­hood, fre­quency and du­ra­tion of power out­ages to cus­tomers.

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