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Power station damage to be repaired by week’s end

dhekelia power station
Dhekelia power station

Damage to a Dhekelia power station production unit that prompted warnings of power cuts will be repaired by end-of-week, the electricity authority (EAC) said on Monday.

Asked about the chance of rolling, short-term interruptions to electricity supply in Larnaca, Nicosia and Famagusta, as announced in previous days by the transmission system operator (TSO), EAC spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulou said that the operator evaluates the system daily and if deemed necessary, power cuts lasting up to 30-minutes could occur.

The critical period will be during afternoon peak hours between 6pm and 9pm, however, it the situation looks hopeful since last Friday despite increased peak demand no power cuts were needed.

Speaking on CyBC radio, technical union Sepaik head Sotos Savva explained the problem had to do with a damaged steam input valve in one of the six generators operating at the station, part and parcel of the overarching problem of Dhekelia’s crumbling infrastructure.

“The damages are to be expected and unpredictable. They would not be occurring had the units been upgraded as had been demanded from the regulatory authority (Cera) last year,” Savva said.

Since Vasiliko has limitations as to the amount of energy it can output, the non-operation of Dhekelia’s unit 4 could lead to a power shortage, depending on demand.

Savva went on to point out the situation showcases how crucial the older power plant still is in the overall big picture.

“Up until two years ago, official state policy within EU directives was to dismantle Dhekelia as of 2023, while simultaneously asking for extensions of its term of operation,” Savva recalled.

The station has been operating under an extension granted two years ago, while it had already received a previous extension in 2012 to operate until 2019.

“During these years, the station ought to have been upgraded,” Savva said.

Currently a request is pending with Cera for introduction of a partial upgrade in the form of two 40MW units and a battery storage unit.

While everyone is theoretically in agreement with that the upgrade is needed procedures are not getting fast tracked, and must move beyond empty rhetoric Savva said.

The ongoing delays in natural gas arrival make the upgrade of Dhekelia even more critical, Savvas noted.

Meanwhile, the EAC announced that the public seems to have responded to calls to limit energy use so as to assist in avoidance of power cuts.

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