V.I. Water and Power Authority crews are trying to resolve frequent service interruptions affecting part of St. Croix, according to the utility.
After a grueling few days attempting to maintain consistent service to St. Croix electric feeder No. 6A, which serves customers from the Estate Richmond Power Plant to Mon Bijou, the Virgin Islands Water and Power line crews, along with contractor Asplundh, spent Thursday bulldozing property under and around the power lines that is teeming with overgrown trees and brush.
Thursday’s work concentrated on areas in Salt River, where the abundance of overgrown bush makes assessing and repairing power lines challenging, and is moving this evening to Estate St. John, which is facing the same situation, according to a statement from WAPA.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, during inclement weather, service was interrupted to this and two other feeders. After crews did an initial assessment and found no impediments, service was restored to feeders 3A and 10B. Tree limbs were found on a portion of power lines for feeder 6A, but they were removed and service was restored within 20 minutes. While the first two feeders held, feeder 6A once again lost service. WAPA dispatched crews to do a more detailed assessment and locate any further problems. More tree branches were found on another portion of the power lines. Crews cut and removed the trees from the lines and tried again to restore service to the feeder.
St. Croix Line Superintendent Yauncey Milligan said Thursday in a statement that the recent rain has increased the foliage 10-fold, making it more challenging for crews when they are out patrolling lines.
After the bush was cut in Salt River, they were able to find and repair a partially blown lightning arrestor, which WAPA says was a main factor in the constant service interruptions but not the complete solution. As a protective measure, Milligan switched between two feeders, transferring over 1,200 customers on feeder 6A to feeder 5A, while linemen worked on 6A. Late Thursday afternoon, a portion of the feeder remained without service while crews continued tree trimming to try and minimize the interruptions. According to WAPA, once the work is done, customers should see a big improvement in service.