• The San Juan Daily Star

PREPA: Probability of blackouts is lower

By John McPhaul

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) announced Thursday and the previous night no load change due to generation deficiencies occurred, which could translate into a lower probability of blackouts.

In a written statement, PREPA said it had a generation capacity of 2,850 megawatts (MW) and the instantaneous peak demand was around 2,725 MW, having been favorably impacted by weather conditions.

Meanwhile, at the Aguirre Power Plant Combined Cycle Unit on Wednesday night, unit 2-3 went into operation with a capacity of 50 MW.

PREPA added that the operational staff of the plants continue to work 24-hour shifts to stabilize the power generation fleet.

“They are focused on completing the work before the peak of the hurricane season, now in September,” the statement said.

By way of updating PREPA’s power generation fleet, the statement said, Unit 1 of the Aguirre Power Plant was forced out of operation on Sunday due to an electrical failure in one of the boiler feed pump motors. According to the statement, technical personnel were already doing the necessary tests to bring the unit into service and synchronize it with the electrical system before the weekend.

For its part, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) on Wednesday called on officials from LUMA Energy and PREPA to explain, through a virtual meeting today at 1 p.m., the reason for the blackouts.

“LUMA and Authority personnel must appear at the Technical Conference with direct knowledge of the causes, circumstances and consequences of the limitation in available generation capacity,” the PREB said.

Aguirre’s Unit 2, meanwhile, which began its scheduled maintenance by the manufacturer in July, is expected to return to operation during the weekend, PREPA said in the statement. Both units of the Aguirre plant have a capacity of 450 MW each.

The Central Costa Sur has Unit 5 in operation and Unit 6 has been out of service since Aug. 20 due to a mechanical failure. Technical staff are conducting an evaluation of the event, the statement said. Each unit has a capacity of 410 MW.

The Aguirre and Costa Sur power plants are the most important base units for the Puerto Rico electrical system, the statement noted. Their power generation represents the main component of the base load and frequency regulation during the supply of energy to meet demand.

Meanwhile, Combined Cycle Units 5 and 6 at the San Juan Power Plant are in operation, PREPA said. Those units have a capacity of 440 MW. Unit 9 continues to operate with a limited production of 55 MW of its 100 MW capacity. Specialized personnel are already attending to the situation in order to eliminate the limitations, the statement said.

At the Palo Seco Power Plant, Unit 3 went into service on Wednesday with a generation of 214 MW after correcting a boiler failure, PREPA said. Unit 4 was already in operation.

The AES and ECO Eléctrica units are also in operation, with a capacity of 454 MW and 530 MW, respectively, the PREPA statement said. In addition, the Mayagüez, Cambalache, Daguao, Palo Seco and Jobos emergency units have been placed in the system.

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