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DOMLEC says “sorry” for power outages

General Manager of The Dominica Electricity Services Ltd (DOMLEC) Bertillia LeBlanc McKenize has issued an “apology” to its consumers for the number of unscheduled power outages now plaguing the company and explained that it is all because of “low capacity.”

The company has resorted to “load shedding” and a number of power outages (unscheduled) have resulted in persons taking to social media and talk shows to air their grievances.

At a hastily arranged press conference at the company’s Fond Cole office, General Manager of DOMLEC Bertillia LeBlanc McKenzie sought to explain that “A fault on the system resulted in the loss of the Sugar Loaf Power Plant, then the Fond Cole Power Plant and then the hydropower plants causing a complete shutdown

“I need to say to us that the root cause of this load shedding has been insufficient generation capacity…and we are also now facing a generation shortfall,” she said.

“We have been seeing in 2023 increased consumption, what you call increased load, so our peak so far for the year is 17.62 megawatts and when you compare that to 2021, where we have a peak of 16.38 megawatts, that’s over 1 megawatt additional consumption by our customers and in 2022 of 16.35 megawatts as well it is telling you something.”

According to LeBlanc McKenize, Dominicans are consuming more power in 2023 but that’s not all. According to her, DOMLEC is also facing the problem of old machines.

“Compare this with an aging generation fleet, and aging diesel generation fleet of which 10 megawatts of generation are past due for retirement.”

The company she revealed is putting in place some measures to combat the ongoing power cuts.

“In the immediate term, the Government of Dominica has provided DOMLEC with an 800 KW generator and it’s expected to be commissioned by September 15. “DOMLEC has also sourced the services of a generation consultant from St Lucia to undertake an assessment of our generation system, an independent person to help us with what’s going on. His initial stint commences on Monday, September 18, and will conclude on the 22, that’s the initial stint, but we expect him to return,” she said.

“He is going to undertake the assessment, tell us what he sees, and give us recommendations,” she added.

She also revealed that in the immediate term, the electrical company is going to lease two megawatts of temporary generation from outside. said the country needs additional generation.

“We need additional generation, the country needs additional generation, people
complained about the price of electricity before but they would always say, I can count on DOMLEC. Now they are saying to me that the reliability has gone down the drain. And they are correct. So we need to procure an additional two to four megawatts of generation subject to IRC (Independent Regulatory Commission) approval because the
regulator must approve,” she said.

For, her, the medium to long-term solution is “a 10 megawatts geothermal power plant now under construction in Laudat which will be commissioned in a few years.”