Sat | Sep 23, 2017

OUR proposes fixes to JPS after August 2016 blackout

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2017 | 5:28 PM

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has made several recommendations to the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPS) following a detailed analysis of circumstances surrounding the all-island power outage of August 2016. 

This was the second major power failure of 2016, with the first on April 17. 

In its report released on May 4, the OUR said the JPS should ensure that adequate measures are introduced to prevent a repeat of the problems linked to the system shutdown.

The problems included the performance of certain Independent Power Producers’ generation facilities. 

Recommendations:
*As a matter of priority, the JPS should review the current switching procedures and safety rules and establish appropriate systems to ensure compliance. 

*Urgent review the policies and procedures governing all communication between system control and field personnel to ensure greater accountability.

*Maintain a sound records management and storage system to ensure that all communications between the system control centre and other operations personnel can be properly recorded and protected so that records can be accessible to the regulator in future to facilitate necessary investigations and audits. 

* JPS should implement the recommendations coming from the OUR’s investigation of the April 17, 2016 system outage, in accordance with the approved Action Plan. 

The OUR’s investigation findings:
- The system shutdown was caused by the failure of the system Operator’s maintenance personnel to remove a ‘short and ground’ that was installed on the 69 kV Transmission System at the Port Authority substation to facilitate maintenance work at the substation. 
- The primary protection scheme failed to trip the relevant circuit breaker and clear the fault as was expected. 
- The relevant back-up protection scheme failed to clear the fault as was expected. 
- The non-functioning of a number of important communication systems during the system shutdown affected the early analysis of the problem and therefore delayed restoration activities. 

Read the full report of the OUR’s investigation at: www.our.org.jm.