From now until Cup Match, Plant Maintenance crews will be working extra shifts to complete essential maintenance as quickly as possible, while all available diesel engines and gas turbines are run to meet Bermuda’s demand for electricity. During this period the total plant capacity will be 135 MW while the maximum demand is projected to be 118 MW. Last summer, the peak load was 122.3 MW on 18 August.

Under current circumstances, if any engine is forced out of service, BELCO will likely need to shed load from the system. When load shedding is required, BELCO control engineers choose circuits in rotation. BELCO does this to spread outages equally across the Island.

The exceptions are the City of Hamilton and circuits that feed essential services, such as King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and L.F. Wade International Airport.

Two outages were initiated by BELCO in the past week to shed load from the system. The first occurred on Friday, 9 July at approximately 9:50 AM, taking 10 MW of load off the system and affecting 7,000 customers in central and eastern Parishes for approximately one hour. The second occurred on Tuesday, 13 July at approximately 5:15 PM, taking 3.5 MW of load off the system and affecting 2,500 customers on other circuits in central and eastern parishes, and lasting for approximately 15 minutes.

Central and eastern parishes were selected because the West End experienced a lengthy outage on 26-27 June that was caused by a major transmission cable fault. When BELCO is forced to shed load from the system, our target is to restore power to the affected customers within 90 minutes.


Robert B. Steynor, BELCO Senior Vice President-Operations, said, “We are asking people to conserve energy especially through this period of planned, essential maintenance work that cannot be delayed because we do not have sufficient redundancy in our plant capacity. Normally, we would have gas turbine units standing by for emergency operation, but one of our large gas turbines is forced out of service and our new units are not yet ready to be put into regular service. At the same time, our diesel engines are aging, with one having been forced into retirement last year.”

Several of BELCO’s oldest diesel engines are scheduled for retirement over the next few years. The company has requested Government approval to move forward with plans to reconfigure the Central Plant in order to replace old engines and build additional new generating plant to keep pace with Bermuda’s growing demand for electricity. Small-scale renewable energy installations on homes and businesses will not significantly reduce the Island’s base demand for electricity.

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