By Bejay Browne
POWER CUTS over the weekend were due to a fault with generators at the Vassilikos power station and not part of a cost cutting practice, a senior official at the semi-government supplier said.
Electricity Authority spokesman Costas Gavrielides denied rumours that insufficient funds in the EAC’s coffers were the reason behind the widespread power outages across many communities since Friday.
“On Friday, Unit 1 at Vassilikos had a problem and on Sunday and Monday there was a problem with Unit 2. I can assure customers that this is a technical problem and not due to us being unable to pay our bills or a way of saving money,” he told the Cyprus Mail.
Vassilikos power station, the largest on the island, employs five units.
Two years after a devastating explosion that killed 13 people following a munitions blast at the adjacent naval base, full operation was finally restored to the power station in August.
According to Gavrielides, Units 4 and 5 are made up of three generators each – two 75MW turbines and a steam unit that produces a further 70MW, with a combined output of 440MW.
The spokesman pointed out that at every second, the load requested by the consumer should be equal to the load generated.
“Obviously, we experience some small losses during transmission distribution. This is usual, but when the generated power suddenly has less output (due to a problem), the load is decreased as well.”
This is a fail-safe practice as the remaining generators in operation cannot satisfy the demand, Gavrielides said.
“When a generator is down, the safety system will take out various feeders all over Cyprus, in order that the entire system doesn’t collapse and everyone would be affected.”
EAC staff is examining the equipment to try to fix the problem to make sure there is no further loss of power to homes and businesses, he said.
“In circumstances such as this, after five minutes, we gradually restore the system and the maximum time people should be without power is about 20 minutes. It’s not a major fault and I am confident that we will be able to rectify the problem.”