Numerous people reported that an explosion in St. Thomas caused Sunday night’s power outage that affected the entire island during the first hour of the Super Bowl. Here are the details on exactly what happened straight from WAPA:
On Sunday, February 2, shortly after 7 p.m., the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority experienced an island-wide electrical service interruption which was the result of a flashover on the power transformer for Unit 14. A flashover is an unintended electrical arc or ball of fire which occurs during a low impedance fault between two conductors or one conductor and the ground. While Unit 14 was not in service at the time of the event, the transformer was energized.
According to Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge, Jr., “Once the flashover occurred, the other generating units online at the time reacted by shutting themselves down as a protective mechanism to minimize damage to the systems power generating components.”
During the unforeseen event, no personnel were injured. An immediate inspection of Unit 14’s transformer indicated there were burnt insulators and lightening arrestors.
“When we knew the employees in the immediate area were safe and the units were not damaged,” said Hodge, “we immediately began bringing the other units back online.”
Plant personnel continue to evaluate Unit 14 to determine the extent of damage.
Executive Director Hodge noted the numerous inquiries about the connection between the timing of the service interruption and the demand on the system resulting from the volume of customers tuning in to view the Super Bowl.
“The interruption subsequent to the flashover had no connection to the demand on the system,” stressed Hodge.