“Recently a number of customers have been found to have interconnected generation systems to Grenlec’s network without authorisation, the vast majority being renewable energy systems. These unauthorised interconnections pose significant safety threats, including electrocution, to our staff and our customers, and could potentially damage our system.” So said Collin Cover, General Manager of Grenlec, as he cautioned customers about the danger of connecting solar panels and other electrical generators to Grenlec’s network without proper approval.
He further stated, “Importantly, industry best practices and protocols allow utilities to isolate and padlock all systems interconnected to their network to ensure that the utilities can safely conduct maintenance on the network when necessary. When customers connect to Grenlec’s network without our knowledge, our workers can be fatally injured because these unauthorised connections can energise our system without our knowledge if appropriate protection measures are not in place. So it is important that the power company knows the exact location of every system that is interconnected to its network, to facilitate their isolation during maintenance activities.”
In the interest of safety, Grenlec will continue contacting customers who have unauthorised connections asking them to regularise their interconnections.
The Company is now appealing to all customers to inform the company about any plans they have to install such systems, to obtain the requisite interconnection approval and instructions from Grenlec prior to purchasing their systems, and then have the installation inspected by the Electrical Inspectorate and tested by Grenlec before interconnecting any renewable energy or other generating systems to its network.
Mr. Cover added, “We want customers to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and we appreciate that they are not deliberately trying to harm our workers or the property of Grenlec or other customers. That being said, we have a responsibility to keep our network safe for our staff and for all customers. In light of this, we will have to disconnect any customers whose generation systems pose a safety threat to our staff members”
Company officials say that while some customers have readily complied with their requests to regularise their interconnections, there are others who have not yet responded.
Grenlec promotes renewable energy and customer-owned renewable energy systems to enhance Grenada’s energy security. The Company is particularly proud to have been the first electric utility in the region to connect customer’s renewable energy generating systems to its network. Through its interconnection initiative, to date more than one hundred customers have safely connected renewable energy systems to Grenlec’s electrical network.