FortisTCI suffered an island-wide outage on the island of Providenciales on Saturday 7 July 2012 beginning at 8:10 am. Service to most customers was restored by early afternoon, with service to all customers restored at approximately 9:40 pm.
The cause of the plant shutdown was traced to an insulation failure on the main bus bar at the primary substation at the plant. The failure caused the main bus bar to explode, rendering five breakers inoperable and shutting down the entire plant. The failure was in a critical area and, in order to restore power, it was necessary for staff to build a new bus bar that temporarily bypassed the damaged equipment. The first section of the system was returned to service at 9:40 am. The bulk of the system was restored by 1:00 pm. Unfortunately, in order to restore power to the Lower Bight area, considerably more work had to be done and power was not restored until just before 10:00 pm on the same day.
According to Fortis, the system remains fragile, and additional outages may be experienced as the company implements permanent repairs and fixes.
Ernie Jackson, VP of Production and Engineering, said, “All electrical systems are susceptible to these kinds of equipment failures. Although, we have built-in a number of redundancies and backups into our system, these types of equipment failures will have a catastrophic effect on our system.”
Jackson continued, “Saturday’s incident required complex solutions under very stressful circumstances, but we proved that we had the know-how and resources to coop with the situation and restore power quickly and safely to our customers. That is the strength of FortisTCI.”