With the advent of climate change, and the unpredictable weather phenomena experienced around the world during the past year, it is important to remember that sometimes maintenance can be a less than routine affair.
When Hurricane Irma hit the island of Anguilla in September 2017, the result was catastrophic damage and the loss of electricity supply across the entire territory. Monitoring the situation continually on behalf of our customer Anguilla Electricity Company (ANGLEC), Wärtsilä Caribbean’s service engineers were quick to respond, and Superintendents Niko Puutio and Alfonso Morales were dispatched at once.
With all flights cancelled and air traffic at an absolute minimum, getting to the site was easier said than done. The pair arrived by private charter, ready to work hand-in-hand with the customer – free of charge – to re-energise critical areas in Anguilla with the maximum haste.
“The island was in a total blackout when we arrived,” says Puutio. “We agreed upon a plan immediately on arrival, first performing a fast overall check of the whole installation. We checked each engine, one by one, and then started up the unit to make sure it worked normally.”
The biggest issues, explains Puutio, were caused by water found inside high-voltage cabinets and generators. These required a thorough visual inspection, followed by drying using heaters, a mechanical inspection and fixing, and electrical insulation inspections. Only after these procedures had been undergone could the units be turned on and tested.
“I stayed on Anguilla for 10 days,” he continues. “Within that time, we made the power plant available to provide electricity to the whole island. The power distribution system suffered heavy damage during the storm, and because of this, the load demand was low in the beginning.”