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‘Island Mode’ leaves Gibraltar prone to power cuts

Several power cuts over the past few days are due to Gibraltar operating in ‘Island Mode’ with no connection to other networks, the Gibraltar Electricity Authority said yesterday.

The GEA is commissioning the new power station and testing its systems during peak demands to ensure its resilience.

The tests are done during the daytime when demand is at its highest and with no connection with other countries electrical network it has meant the chances of power outages increases.

“The New Power Station has been undergoing commissioning now for some time, as part of our needs to satisfy ourselves that the plant will be resilient under any given condition, and provide us with the ability to supply you, our customers, with your power needs,” said a statement from the GEA.

“With the commissioning of the generating sets having been completed, the plant is now undergoing commissioning in respect of its control and automation systems.

“Because of the particular conditions we operate in, i.e. an island mode, with no connection to any other countries’ electrical network, these tests must be carried out on the live grid which will unfortunately increase the chances of power outages occurring, ultimately affecting our customers.”

“The commissioning of the control and automation systems will continue to take place both during the daytime and at night time.”

“We understand that our customers might ask why these tests need to be conducted during the daytime, and not at night time when the inconvenience caused by a power outage is considerably less.”

“Unfortunately given our unique circumstances, it is during the daytime that we experience our peak power demands, and it is only then that we can fully tests our systems, instead of at night time when we experience our lowest power demands.”

The GEA added that the commissioning phase is “critical” when taking over a new Power Station, and thanked customers for their “continued support” despite recent power cuts.

The GEO apologised to customers any further power outages may cause.