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The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is being asked to report to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), within 90 days, the true state of its transmission network.
This was announced by the Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications, Clive Mullings, in a statement to the House of Representatives, on (January 15), in relation to the all island electricity blackout on January 9.
The Minister also suggested that the JPS conduct adequate aerial and foot patrol of its transmission network and to advise on its findings.
“The OUR is to analyze and to the extent required, verify this report and advise the Ministry and JPS as to any corrective measure, which may be required for any fault or problem identified on the system,” Mr. Mullings said.
He said that the JPS is to immediately embark on a programme designed to ensure that the transmission network be operated in such a manner as to create electrical zones in event of faults of the system. This, he said, “should minimize the risk of islandwide power shutdown.”
The Minister explained that the OUR is to effectively monitor the JPS performance of its obligations and where necessary, impose requisite sanctions, as prescribed by the JPS licence and in law, for breaches of the JPS obligations to provide a safe, reliable, and adequate supply of electricity throughout the island.
“The Ministry intends to monitor compliance with the recommendations and will formally advise Marubeni (Caribbean) Power Holdings, the new majority shareowner of JPS, of the findings, observations and recommendations set out in this presentation and request that Marubeni ensures due compliance by the JPS and facilitates the necessary improvements in the island’s power supply,” Mr. Mullings said.
The islandwide blackout resulted from the collapse of a structure of the 138KV transmission lines that link the Tredegar substation in Spanish Town to the Duhaney substation at Six Miles in Kingston.
Mr. Mullings explained that the fault that resulted from the collapse remained on the power system too long, “because one of the circuit breakers that should have isolated the failed transmission line failed to operate.”
The extended fault duration caused all generators at Old Harbour Power Station (closest to the fault) and other generators to trip offline, in order to protect them from damage.
The loss of about 50 per cent (280 megawatts) of generation capacity (522 megawatts) online at the time of the fault resulted in a cascade of total system shutdown within 10 seconds of the fault.