Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 25, 2022 (SKNIS): The St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) is installing more underground infrastructure in communities across the island so that its infrastructure can be more climate-resilient in withstanding the devasting impacts of natural disasters as a result of climate change.
Appearing on Working for You on August 24, 2022, in a discussion treating disaster preparedness, especially in this time of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season, SKELEC’s Control, Operations and Protection Manager, Mr. Collin Brown underscored the importance of the energy company’s underground infrastructure.
“Underground infrastructure is an important pillar of a resilient electrical system. I am proud to say that, especially when compared to neighbouring utility companies of similar size, whether it be APUA in Antigua or NEVLEC in Nevis, St. Kitts is blessed, SKELEC is blessed, to have a significant amount of underground infrastructure as it is. The majority of our infrastructure is still overhead, but I can report that for every consumer of electricity in St. Kitts some portion of the infrastructure that provides them with electricity is underground. So, whether they are fortunate enough to live in an area such as Frigate Bay or have a business in Basseterre, the entire delivery is underground, or Sandy Point for instance where the electricity delivery would be overhead from Challengers to Sandy Point. The underground infrastructure we have in place provides us with a much more robust electrical system compared to neighbouring islands,” said Mr. Brown.
“During Irma and Maria, two significant storms that I think were spaced by less than two weeks, many customers in St. Kitts had continuous electricity supply throughout both storms. It is financially prohibitive to provide end-to-end underground infrastructure to all customers taking into consideration that it is six to eight times more expensive than overhead infrastructure. But we continue to put in place new underground infrastructure. In the last 18 months, we have put new underground infrastructure in the St. Peter’s area at the Bayford’s feeder. That was the last remaining feeder that did not have any portion of it underground,” added Mr. Brown.
SKELEC is on a mission to transform the delivery of electricity for both residential and commercial purposes across St. Kitts. Mr. Brown further noted that the importance and effectiveness of SKELEC’s current underground infrastructure were evident during recent hurricanes and storms where many customers remained with power throughout the weather disturbance.
SKELEC is the sole electricity provider in St. Kitts that seeks to supply reliable electricity at a competitive price in harmony with the local community and environment. The St. Kitts Electricity Company is owned by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and is run by a board of directors.
SKELEC has an installed capacity of 48.9 MW with 15 diesel generators at its Needsmust Power Plant. Peak demand ranges from at 20-28 MW, with base load between 14.6-16.2 MW. SKELEC continues to improve its reliability by installing new generators to increase capacity or upgrading existing inventory.