Excess solar generated electricity causes major outage, says EPC

PHOTO: EPC workers on the job

By Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 29 OCTOBER 2018: A major power outage that delayed afternoon church services that rely on powerful sound systems and air conditioned halls, was due to excess electricity generated by the solar farms feeding into the national grid.

“This was due to power supply from solar system exceeding demand causing Fiaga generators to shut down to maximise renewable production and reduce diesel fuel usage,” EPC said in a press release late this afternoon.

“This caused the system to become unstable resulting in blackout to the whole island of Upolu, at 2.30pm.”

The power outage affected the main island of Upolu and unhappy users took to social media to express their disappointment.

Church goers were seen sitting outside their air conditioned halls waiting for the power to be back and their afternoon services started late into the evening.

The EPC center at Vaitele was crowded with buyers of prepaid electricity well after 7pm and traffic had to run without traffic lights and land transport officers to control traffic.

This morning, many businesses had issues getting their networks to operation. The power outage also affected major internet providers that only managed to restore full service close to midday today.

EPC General Manager, Tologatā Tile Tuimalealiifano did not talk to the media today saying he had to brief the Minister first about what happened.

“The EPC engineers worked at restoring electricity to the whole country as safely and practically possible. Electricity has been fully restored to the whole island of Upolu as of last night at 9pm, except for some major buildings in the town area due to an underground cable and transformer fault resulting from the power outage.

“Buildings affected include the Development Bank, the Fish Market, Central Bank and the Government Building. These consumers are currently operating on their standby generators while EPC continues to work on repairing the underground cable and transformer.

“Thank you for your continuous support while EPC works on resolving the issue to ensure this will not happen again in the future,” said EPC.