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New WAPA System to Provide Remote Troubleshooting


Jan. 23, 2007 — St. John residents should see an improvement in their electrical service, thanks to a new V.I. Water and Power Authority system that allows WAPA crews to solve St. John substation problems — without having to leave the WAPA plant on St. Thomas.
The new system went on line Tuesday.
"We're moving into the technological era," said Winston Smith, WAPA's head of operations on St. John.
Taking reporters on a tour of the WAPA plant at Turner Bay, he explained that before the new Supervisory Control and Data System (SCADA) was installed, crews had to come from home if a problem occurred during nonworking hours.
Although Smith laughed that he doesn't get paid overtime, he said other WAPA workers do. Therefore, the new SCADA system will save WAPA money.
Similar systems are in place on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
WAPA Executive Director Alberto Bruno-Vega said in a press release issued Monday that plant supervisors will be able to monitor what's happening in the field. This will enable them to immediately identify problems and restore service when possible.
Bruno-Vega said that WAPA will ultimately expand the new system, which was installed six months ahead of schedule, to include the water distribution system.
The SCADA systems were installed by Open Systems International Inc., which is based in Minneapolis.
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