Wednesday, January 24, 2018

T&TEC's $36 million disaster plan

Public Utilities Minister Senator Robert Le Hunte, second from left, examine one of the mobile units during the launch at the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) Central Warehouse, Carlifornia, yesterday. Looking on at right is (T&TEC) chairman Keith Sirju.

Trinidad and Tobago now has ten new mobile substations for disaster preparedness.

At a cost of approximately $36 million, the units were acquired to enable T&TEC to respond to disruptions in the power supply in the event of a natural disaster said,Minister of Public Utilities, Robert Le Hunte.

Le Hunte was speaking at the launch of T&TEC's mobile substations at T&TEC's Central Warehouse, King Village, Southern Main Road, California yesterday.

Highlighting the torrential rainfall the country experienced last month which left several communities inundated by flood waters for several days, and the fallout from recent hurricanes, which devastated our CARICOM neighbours, Le Hunte said, “These disasters are evidence of our new reality – one where adverse weather conditions, fuelled by climate change, will be with us for a very long time.”

He noted, how we respond and manage these events when they do occur will make the difference.

T&TEC Chairman Keith Sirju said, “Acquisition of these units is timely, as there is increased focus globally on disaster preparedness and the requisite response plans for emerging threats. It is therefore prudent and responsible in general that citizens and organisations adopt measures to mitigate the impact and consequences of natural disasters.”

The 10 mobile substations are designed as containerised units. Each container comprises a generator, a step-up transformer, circuit breaker and fuel storage.

The units are of two different sizes – five at 500kW single phase 6.9kV and five at 1000 kW three phase. Both sizes can supply residential customers and industrial/commercial customers.

The mobile substation is mounted on a trailer and can be transported to remote areas quickly prior to the onset of a disaster and planned or unplanned outages.

Le Hunte said, “To ensure rapid deployment whenever necessary, a truck has been purchased with each unit. In addition to their mobility, these units facilitate quick set-up times, since they can be made operational within an hour after arrival on site.”

Sirju said, “While residential customers may benefit from the service, in times of disaster, primary focus will be placed on powering medical facilities, emergency shelters, communications towers and similar consumers.”

“Each unit has a fuel capacity that allows for eight hours of operation and for the purposes of scale, can supply between 200 and 500 residential customers,” he added.

The mobile substations will be distributed across Trinidad and Tobago as follows: three unites in South Trinidad, while one would be made available to Central, two to Tobago, and two each to North and East Trinidad.

“T&TEC's Disaster Preparedness Plan covers tropical storms and hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, landslides and any such unforeseen event. It seeks to ensure a rapid, well-coordinated and effective response to disasters,” Sirju said.

Recently, T&TEC instituted an offsite Information Technology Disaster Recovery/High Availability System. This system duplicates T&TEC data at a secondary location in real-time.

He said, “We have also implemented a GIS based outage management system. This will work with our upgraded and automated Interactive Voice Response system for reporting outages and electricity-related emergencies.”

Le Hunte said, “We must as a nation actively find ways of contributing to the development of a resilient, innovative and disaster –ready society.”

The acquisition of these mobile substations has been financed by the Public Sector Investment Programme (PISP) under the Ministry of Public Utilities.