The Malta Independent 17 October 2018, Wednesday

Updated: Widespread power cut hits Malta after inter-connector disconnection

Sunday, 22 April 2018, 11:53 Last update: about 7 months ago

A widespread power cut has hit Malta late in the morning.

Residents of St Julian’s, Swieqi, Zejtun, Birkirkara, Pieta, St Paul’s Bay, Pembroke, Madliena, Mosta, Cospicua, Marsaxlokk, Qormi, San Gwann, Attard, Marsascala, Paola, Balzan, Santa Venera, Dingli Rabat and Naxxar reported no electricity.

In some areas, power was restored within a few minutes.

In a statement, Enemalta, said electricity services in a number of localities was disrupted at 1125hrs on Sunday, after a difficulty in the electricity transmission from Sicily, through the Malta-Italy Interconnector, disrupted supply to 32% of the country’s network.

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The sudden disconnection was caused by a difficulty at the Malta-Italy Interconnector’s terminal station at Ragusa, which triggered the protection mechanisms of one of its shunt reactors, Enemalta said.

The company said it immediately launched the appropriate emergency procedures to stabilise the network, avert the risk of a total system shutdown or damages to the network infrastructure and gradually restore supply to the customers affected.

Spare electricity generation units at the Delimara Power Station were immediately dispatched and within 17 minutes, by 1142hrs, Enemalta gradually started resupplying electricity services to the customers affected. Most areas were reconnected to the network within 45 minutes and all services were back online by 1235hrs.

In the meantime, in collaboration with Terna, the Italian network operator, Enemalta engineers and technicians are now working to identify the technical difficulty that triggered the protection systems and resynchronise the two country’s electricity grids.

Whilst regretting any inconvenience caused, Ing. Fredrick Azzopardi, Enemalta plc Chairman thanked the Company’s employees and customers for their support in resolving this difficulty.

“Electricity supply could be swiftly restored to all customers through the availability of an energy mix based on a number of different sources, including local sources at the Delimara Power Station, grid-connected renewable energy sources and the Malta-Italy Interconnector. By having the necessary flexibility and redundancy at the Delimara Power Station, which currently includes the Delimara 3 gas-fired plant, the new Delimara 4 CCGT gas-fired power station and the gasoil-powered Delimara 2 plants as spare capacity, once supply through the Interconnector became unavailable and Malta’s network was islanded, the Company could still continue to provide electricity to its customers with minimal delay,” Ing. Azzopardi explained.    

“At the time of the incident this morning, the country’s network was being supplied through a mix of all sources available, including 32% from Sicily through the Interconnector, 22% from local grid-connected renewables and 46% from Delimara 3 and Delimara 4,” the Company Chairman confirmed.  

Enemalta plc launched an internal inquiry into the incident, with a view to identifying the necessary measures to reduce the risk of similar difficulties.

 

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