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Power outage not due to use of Christmas lights


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Power Authority has issued a public apology following the island wide power outage that occurred in the wee hours of last Friday morning and assured the use of Christmas lights was not the cause.

“The cause of the island wide outage was due to a faulty Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) on Satala gen-set S-3.

“Gensets always supply both KW (true power) and KVAr (reactive power) to the grid,” said the ASPA CEO Wallon Young in response to Samoa News questions.

He said during the S-3 AVR failure, S-3 power output dropped to 0 KW then the unit absorbed up to 100% or 3400 KVAr reactive power from other gensets.

“Satala genset S-2 tripped first due to power swings and instability, followed by the cascade tripping of other Satala gensets. 

“The Tafuna plant which is tied to the Satala plant via the 34.5KV Tie Line also tripped due to the large overload that resulted from the total loss of generation at the Satala plant.

“Power Generation technicians replaced the defective AVR on the Satala gen-set S-3 at 6 AM on Friday morning, and load testing began on Sunday and is ongoing.

“A damaged AVR /exciter on Tafuna generator T2, will also be repaired during the weekend.”

He also confirmed that the Christmas lights across the territory did not cause the power outage on Friday morning.

“There is absolutely no truth to comments that the Christmas lights triggered the power outage. Christmas lights, especially the more common LED type, consume very little power,” said Mr Young.

He explained that from the data on the ASPA system clearly indicated the “power needed for 1,000 mini LED lights is only 69 Watts (W). 

“Any one of ASPA's nine GE gensets (3,400 KW each) can power 49 million mini LED lights, or  8.3 million incandescent mini lights.

“Due to the limited load during the Christmas season, at least two GE units are kept on hot standby,” explained Mr Young.