Trinidad Hit By All-Island Power Outage

More than one million people in Trinidad were left without electricity following an island-wide power cut.

Lights went out just before 1 pm local time on Wednesday 16 February. It took the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) several hours to fully restore supplies.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, T&TEC General Manager Kelvin Ramsook pinned the blame for the blackout on a fault at the 200kV Union Gandhi circuit.

The problem caused all four power plants run by Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU) to go into shutdown mode.

“At this stage, while the system was fully cleared at 1.50 pm, the issue was to get all the generation capacity back onto the grid and that is causing some challenges.

“We have never had this situation occurring for many years and all four generating stations are separated and we are having challenges getting the capacity back onto the grid and interconnection thereafter.”

– Kelvin Ramsook, General Manager of T&TEC

Restarting the Caribbean island’s power grid from scratch – known as a Black Start – took several hours. While some customers were back online by late afternoon, many had to wait until the early hours of Thursday morning.

As well as inconveniencing the general public and businesses across the island, the incident had a major impact on water treatment plants.

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) issued a statement saying that its 40 water treatment plants, 107 booster stations, and 210 ground water sources were ‘negatively impacted’.

The incident had no effect on supplies in the neighbouring island of Tobago.

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