GM Says SKELEC Needs Funding For Feeder Upgrade

August 21, 2019 in National

SKELEC Acting General Manager Jomo Williams acknowledges that the Bayfords feeder is having more than average power outages, but says the funds to upgrade the system is not readily available.

The Bayfords Feeder provides electricity to areas such as Bayfords, St. Peters, New Road and Taylor’s Extension.

“Your reliability is as good as your maintenance program. We have a very strict maintenance program at SKELEC which many times is hampered because of the unavailability of the proper funding to push these projects forward. Now…the Bayfords feeder over the past few months has had a larger than normal amount of outages lasting from as little as half hour and as long as four to five hours. There’s a plan in place to overhaul the Bayfords Feeder. It was a 3.3 KV feeder which was then upgraded to an 11KV. An 11KV is 11,000 volts; that’s our generating voltage. The feeder was upgraded so it would be able to carry the 11,000volts.

“Some areas of the feeder have already been upgraded and there is still some significant upgrades required especially on the end of the feeder, in particular, the Cedar Grove area. The plan for that feeder right now is estimated to cost approximately $1.5 million to do the upgrade.

“I’m sure if I as the General Manager takes that entire list to Mrs. Williams as the Finance Manager the first thing she would ask me is “Where will we get the money from? We have our fuel bill to pay, spares to buy for the generators, lampposts and wires to buy; where are we going to get this $1.5 million?”

Williams said despite a lack of funds, SKELEC plans to upgrade that system in sections over time.

“We have to find creative ways to get it done so the plan is to break the project up in smaller pieces. We’re gonna tackle it maybe road by road, section by section; and over a period of time we’re gonna get it done for the full $1.5 million but the expense for each job will be a lot less and more manageable.

“Now if for some reason our collections increase and we are able to spend more money on that particular project we’ll be able to get it done in a faster time, so our reliability is directly tied to our income.”

SKELEC Finance Manager Pearl Williams recently revealed that the electricity company earned $98 million for the financial year ending July 2019, but spent $84 million on fuel for the same period.