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Brief: New WAPA System Will Allow Rapid Response to Power Problems

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Jan. 22, 2007 — The V.I. Water and Power Authority will install a new electronic-monitoring system in its power plants on Tuesday, allowing technicians to recognize and respond to problems immediately, according to a WAPA news release.
The two new large-scale supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, a computer system for gathering and analyzing real-time data, will also go into operation on Tuesday, said WAPA Executive Director Alberto Bruno-Vega in the news release. The SCADA systems "will allow technical personnel in the power plant to immediately recognize and respond to any problems in the field," according to the release.
In February 2006, WAPA awarded a contract to Open Systems International (OSI) of Minneapolis, Minn., to provide the SCADA system, which will manage the distribution of electricity throughout the territory. The configuration includes two redundant systems serving St. Thomas-St. John-Water Island and St. Croix to minimize communication failures between the islands. Both systems will be accessible from either St. Thomas or St. Croix during normal operating conditions.
“We are very excited about the great possibilities that the new SCADA system will offer our utility as we continue to accomplish our strategic goals for technical and service improvements in our operation,” Bruno-Vega said, according to the news release. “Our plant operators will be able to monitor through remote control what’s happening in the field. This will help us identify where faults occur, immediately isolate problem areas and expeditiously restore service to customers."
WAPA will ultimately expand the new system — completed six months ahead of schedule — into the water-distribution system so the utility will be able to monitor distribution and read meters, the release said. The two projects will greatly assist WAPA in reducing water and electric-line loss and greatly improve efficiently, the release said.
OSI will do its “best to make this project an extremely successful project and a showcase reference site for the Caribbean,” said the company's CEO and president, Bahman Hoveida, on signing the contract with WAPA in early 2006, the release said. According to the release, OSI "provides open, state-of-the-art, high-performance automation and e-business solutions to electric utilities worldwide."

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