The wide-scale dissatisfaction was a prominent feature of the election campaigns of 2004 and 2010, when regular disruption of the service, created much anger among citizens, many of whom suffered huge financial losses, due to the damage caused to their home appliances.
Despite many attempts to rectify the problem, the power failures continued but now the government is reporting that customers may soon see a vast improvement in the quality and consistency of the service.
A press statement from the Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister, reported that the recent acquisition of two additional, new 4.0MW Holeby generating sets that arrived on island last Friday, (8th October), are expected to provide a more reliable generation of electrical power.
The CUOPM release stated that “The two sets bring to four, the number of new electricity generators purchased by the St. Kitts Electricity Department, in the last three months under its improvement programme”.
This new shipment is in addition to a set of similar generators that arrived in St. Kitts since August and are to be commissioned by the end of this month. Those that arrived last week will have their commissioning in February, next year.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Utilities said the first two generators that arrived in August were purchased at a cost of US$10,828,000 and the two that arrived last Friday were bought at a cost of US$11,031,000. He said the total cost of the four gensets is US$22,031,000.
In 2008, the largest engine at the Needsmust Power Plant, a 7.6 MW set, was damaged by fire and two Caterpillars sets purchased between 1989 and 1995 had to be removed from service due to their long history of failures and problems, poor fuel efficiency and extreme unreliability, said the CUOPM release.
The government has indicated that between 2007 and 2011 the Ministry of Public Utilities would have procured a total of seven (7) 4.0MW Holeby engines costing approximately US$38.2 million.