Damages To The FEA Power Infrastructure

As a result of Cyclone Winston, the nation has sustained tremendous damages in all sectors. The FEA power infrastructure has also sustained extensive damages. These damages include and are not
04 Mar 2016 10:45
Damages To The FEA Power Infrastructure

As a result of Cyclone Winston, the nation has sustained tremendous damages in all sectors.

The FEA power infrastructure has also sustained extensive damages. These damages include and are not limited to, our electricity generation assets, transmission towers & lines, sub-transmission poles & lines and the entire power distribution network around the country.

The FEA teams are working on multiple areas simultaneously – Transmission, sub-transmission & distribution lines in order to restore power supply.

  1. Power Generation Assets

1.1.         Nadi Power Station – Damages to the building structure

1.2.         Vuda Power Station – Damages to the building structure & generators in the power station.

1.3.         Levuka Power Station – Damages to the power station roof and generators.

1.4.         Nadarivatu Camp Site – All roof structures destroyed.


  1. Transmission Assets

We have three steel lattice transmission towers that are damaged.

2.1.         Wailoa to the Western Division – There is a fallen tower on the Wailoa to Vuda, Lautoka transmission line which has cut off power supply from the Wailoa Power Station to the Western Division.

2.2.         Nadarivatu Transmission – There are two fallen towers on the Nadarivatu transmission line which has cut off power supply from the Nadarivatu Hydro Power Scheme.

Fortunately, the transmission line from Wailoa to Cunningham Road remained intact and is transporting power from the Wailoa Power Station to the Central Division of Viti Levu.

  1. Sub-Transmission Lines

3.1.         Vuda to Rarawai 33kV Sub-transmission Line – This power line transports power from Vuda towards Ba and further into Tavua & Rakiraki.

Fifteen out of the two hundred and ninety six poles have been damaged.

3.2.           Rarawai to Vatukoula 33kV Sub-transmission Line – This power line further transports power from Ba towards Vatukoula, Tavua & Rakiraki. Damages on this line are being attended to.

3.3.         Wainikasou Power Line 33kV Sub-transmission Line – This power lines transports power from the Wainikasou Power Station to the Wailoa Substation and then onto the National Grid. There are forty eight power poles out of four hundred and twelve that require repairs/replacement before it is brought back to service.

  1. Distribution Lines

1.1.         There is extensive damage to the entire FEA power distribution network in the areas of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu (Labasa & Savusavu), & Ovalau. Damages to these areas could be estimated as follows:


Power Restoration Process following

a Cyclone

In the event of a power outage during normal times, the power restoration process involves restarting the power generators and switching on areas one at a time. The process is generally straightforward and restoration of supply is accomplished without too much delay.

On the other hand, in the event of a cyclone related power outage, the power restoration process requires a very high safety focus. During cyclones an electricity network is impacted, particularly the overhead power lines. Power lines get broken and poles fall down. Trees fall on power lines. Customer service mains get broken.

For safety reasons each and every part of the power lines needs to be inspected and confirmed safe before the power line is repaired and switched on. There has to be a POSITIVE safety confirmation. Otherwise we could be livening up an unsafe power line or customer service mains and end up killing people or burning down houses.


Procedure – Cyclone Restoration

The FEA Cyclone Action Plan is part of the Fiji Electricity Authority’s Incident Management Policy.

The Cyclone Action Plan lists down the actions that need to be taken by the various STRATEGIC BUSINESS UNITS (SBUs) within the FEA. Each SBU, as part of the Cyclone Action Plan, conducts desktop exercises to simulate the actions that need to be taken in the event of a cyclone.

The Cyclone Action Plan also lists down the priority areas for restoration of power supply following a cyclone event. The priority areas for power restoration are as follows:

  1. Hospitals.
  2. Water Supply & Sewerage (WAF) – (for stations without Generator backup)
  3. Central Business Districts
  4. Commercial & Industrial Areas
  5. Domestic

Every effort is to be made by Action Centre Team Leaders to ensure that items 1 and 2 above are clearly identified and programmed for priority action.

However, before we can commence restoration of power supply to customers, we need to ensure that our generating stations, transmission lines, sub-transmission lines and distribution lines are in operational order. To this effect a helicopter is reserved by FEA immediately upon the declaration of a Cyclone Warning.

Restoration of Transmission and

Sub-transmission Lines/Circuits

Immediately following a cyclone event, if required, a helicopter patrol is carried out of our 132kV transmission lines from Wailoa to Cunningham Road and Wailoa to Vuda in Lautoka.

In addition to this, the 33kV sub-transmission lines are also patrolled using the helicopter. The sub-transmission lines run from Korolevu to Tavua, from Deuba to Wailekutu, from Cunningham Road to Sawani, from Sawani to Nausori and from Kinoya to Nausori. In total 147km of 132kV transmission Lines and 373 km of overhead 33kV sub-transmission lines have to be thoroughly patrolled.

Defects identified during the helicopter patrol are promptly programmed for priority repairs.


Diesel Generators

While the helicopter patrol is underway, diesel generating stations at Kinoya, Korovou, Deuba, Sigatoka, Vuda and Rakiraki are started as soon as they are checked and confirmed to be safe for operations, and power restoration to the distribution network commences.


Restoration of supply to Customers:

The Authority has some 8334 km of overhead distribution lines which need to be certified safe prior to livening up. Inspection is carried out of the distribution lines to the priority areas (Hospitals). Repairs are carried out along the main lines to the priority areas. Faulty parts of the overhead lines are isolated and programmed for repairs, while teams move on to restore supply to other priority areas.

The faulty lines that are isolated are programmed for repair by either FEA teams or Contractors, and are addressed after supply has been restored to hospitals and water supply & sewerage.

With healthy lines to priority areas restored, there will be cases in areas where some customers may have their supply connected, while supply may be off for some customers where there are damages to line hardware. These customers may be affected for a number of days as contractors and FEA teams focus on restoring supply to other priority areas.

The time it takes for power lines to be repaired depends largely on three key factors namely;

  1. The extent of damages,
  2. Trees, and
  3. Access to the damaged power lines.

In most cases, the most severe damages to power lines are caused by trees. Where customers have managed to keep their trees clear off the power lines, minimum damages occur, resulting in speedy restoration of electricity supply.

Customers may also experience delays in restoration of power supply in the event of damages to their service mains or dwelling/installation. In this case, the customer needs to get in touch with a licensed electrical contractor to assess damages, lodge a permit with the Regulatory Unit of FEA and carry out necessary repairs at the cost of the customer. Once repairs are complete, the electrical contractor will contact the FEA Inspectors to organize connection of power supply.

Finally, in the process of restoring power supply to priority areas, customers whose supply lines are safe may get their supply restored earlier than others.

There may also be instances where one side of the street has electricity while the other side does not, depending on the respective supply point and supply route. This does not mean favoritism of some domestic customers over others; it is just an unintended benefit of their location along the power line route to the priority areas.

We seek your patience and cooperation as we continue to inspect, repair and energize the FEA power system maintaining the required standards of safety, security and quality of power supply.


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