Roseau, Dominica – January 13, 2008……………….. In an effort to assess the considerable damage suffered by the DOMLEC Power Station at Padu as a result of the passage of Hurricane Dean in August last year , Minister for Energy, Hon. Charles Savarin paid a visit to the facility recently.
The Minister was accompanied by his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Vincent Philbert.
At the Padu plant, the Minister was met by the General Manager of DOMLEC, Mr. Joel Huggins and other members of staff from DOMLEC.
The purpose of the visit by the Minister was to see for himself the damage suffered to the plant and to get some indication as to when the facility would be brought back into operation.
“It was enlightening to actually visit the plant and see the damage that was done. The damage was not so much done by the river as one would have expected but by a major landslide coming from the hill where major boulders crashed into the power plant and did significant damage to the building itself and affected the generators and turbines and therefore the whole system had to be shut down, so there is no power being generated at Padu at the moment,” Hon. Savarin told reporters.
The temporary closure of the Padu Power Station which generates electricity from hydro means the country has to rely more on diesel for the generation of electricity, exposing consumers to a higher fuel surcharge at a time of escalating fuel prices. Currently only the hydro plants in Laudat and Trafalgar are in operation.
Prior to his visit to the plant at Padu, the Minister was told by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company, Mr. Robert Blanchard, that it could take up to a year for the facility to be reopened and the cost of repairs would run into millions of dollars.
Hon. Savarin impressed upon the General Manager of DOMLEC of the urgency of bringing Padu back into operation in the quickest possible time and pledged his Ministry’s support in that endeavour.
In 2005, 33.3 % of Dominica’s electricity from the grid was produced by hydro-electricity. In 2006 the figure was 32.5% but in 2007 the figure dropped to 25.3% partly as a result of the damage to the Padu plant caused by Hurricane Dean.
The Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC) is a private company but the Ministry of Public Utilities has a regulatory function in respect to the delivery of electricity in Dominica. (Ends)