Electricity Blackout After Transformer/Generator Failure
There was a subsequent disconnection from the electricity supply via underground cables from north Cyprus, which still has not been restored, according to our sources.
It's too early to tell how the transformer was damaged, however, our sources do not think it was sabotage. A graph on the Transmission System Operator (TSO) website shows the sudden drop-off in electricity, click here to see it (link opens in new window) The blackout affected telephone communications and traffic lights in Paphos, Limassol, Nicosia and Larnaca. Electricity is slowly being restored around the island, and most big businesses and institutions are relying on generator power until the network is up and running again. (Photo below shows blacked out traffic lights in Limassol.)
One possibility is that there was a sudden power surge from the network in the Turkish-held territory in the north, from where the Republic of Cyprus has been buying electricity to cover the shortfall in the aftermath of the explosion. Since the two networks are connected, any damage on one side can affect the other and there were problems reported in the grid in the north. However, this scenario has not been confirmed, say our sources.
Another possibility is that humidity caused the fault, according to initial information from the EAC, however, it should be noted that humidity levels were not high, one weather website puts it at 43% for today
Fixing the transformer could take days, and engineers are trying to isolate the damaged unit so that the other generators can be put back into the network. Each generator has a transformer to control voltage so it is synchronised to Cyprus' standard of 50 Hz, and if one of them fails, the load is taken up by the others. In an already fragile state after the explosion next to Vassiliko power station last summer, the remaining units could not take the overload and automatically shut down at around 4.30am.
The EAC said that its emergency response plan was used for the first time and almost all consumers were being supplied by around 10am.
There will be a meeting between the EAC, the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) and the TSO later today to discuss the situation.
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