THREE LUCELEC SUBSTATIONS UPGRADED TO PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE
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.