Power issues at town plants are down

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 9:00am

Superintendent Chris Blane started work at the Sewer Company in 1996, and every year since that time, and even before, the plant would switch over to two generators when the summer rates at the Block Island Power Co. kicked in.

This year, Blane tried an experiment: staying on the BIPCo grid now that the island is powered by the Wind Farm. The result, said Blane, was that the plant seems to be running smoothly, with far fewer emergency calls due to electricity-based outages. 

“Everything is more reliable and running smoothly,” said Blane. “The total number of alarms we get at the plant and the collection system are down.”

Blane was careful to say he couldn’t prove there was a direct connection to the Wind Farm, but over at the Water Company, Superintendent John Breunig reported the same thing. 

“I concurred with Chris on the fact that we had fewer electricity-based call outs,” said Bruenig. “These are after-hours calls where an operator would have to respond to the plant, but we did not have one of these issues since we went on the cable.”

Both Bruenig and Blane said the more reliable power source is easier on the equipment.

Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department member Pete McNerney also said, at the most recent joint meeting of the Water and Sewer Commissions, that “our calls are significantly down” — meaning the alarm calls to homes that are triggered by some kind of electrical issue.

At the Sewer Company, Blane said the two generators cost about $30,000 each, and they were running on diesel fuel. He said he didn’t see much point in running diesel-powered generators when they were no longer in use at BIPCo.

“This was a trial run,” said Blane, “But I think we’re in good shape.”