The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) has announced that the Wadadli Power Plant is no longer providing power to consumers and that operations there are being wound up.
Electricity Unit Business Manager, Andre Matthias, said the plant at Crabbes, which was commissioned in 2011, was decommissioned five years later in 2016.
There was an attempt to revive three of the plant’s six engines, but the engineers were only able to restore two.
“The two engines were very unreliable resulting in many power outages. Then we lost one of the two to serious damage and last month we decided to close down the other engine because it was uneconomical to continue operating,” Matthias explained.
He disclosed that it was costing APUA more to operate the plant than to purchase power from the Antigua Power Company.
The Electricity Manager said his main concern now is the welfare of the twenty-three staff attached to the plant. He confirmed that he has been in touch with the trade unions that represent the workers.
“What we plan to do is to integrate those who can be consumed into other parts of the company or perhaps with APC. Where we are unable to do so we may unfortunately have to terminate those workers but that is an option we hope to avoid,” he stated.
Matthias said he is preparing a report that will be submitted to APUA’s general manager and to the Board of Commissioners detailing the historical developments surrounding the plant.
Following this, he said it will be up to the board and the government to determine if they should seek compensation from the Chinese company which set up the plant. Power plants normally have a 20 to 30 year lifespan.
The Wadadli Power plant has failed to provide half that number in efficient service. At its commissioning, the plant became the centre of controversy as it was haunted by claims that it was not a new plant.
There were accusations that the former government had been duped into purchasing a used plant at the incredible cost of US$46 million.