The Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (Grenlec) has issued a warning against the safety risks of unauthorised Renewable Energy Interconnections to its network.
Grenlec said that recently a number of customers were found to have interconnected generation systems to its network without authorisation, the vast majority being renewable energy systems.
The company’s General Manager, Collin Cover cautioned customers about the dangers of unauthorised connection of solar panels and other electrical generators to Grenlec’s network without proper approval.
“These unauthorised interconnections pose significant safety threats, including electrocution, to our staff and our customers, and could potentially damage our system”, he said.
Cover appealed to customers to inform the company about any plans to install such systems, so that they can obtain the requisite interconnection approval and instructions from the company prior to purchasing their systems.
According to a Grenlec release, installation must be inspected by the Electrical Inspectorate and tested by Grenlec before interconnecting any renewable energy or other generating systems to the network.
Cover said: “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,” Cover said.
“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”.
Cover pointed out that in the interest of safety, Grenlec will continue contacting customers who have unauthorised connections asking them to regularise their interconnections.
“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 customer whose generation systems pose a safety threat to our staff members,” he remarked.
Company officials have said 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 renewable energy generating systems of customers to its network.
Grenlec says that more than 100 customers have safely connected renewable energy systems to its electrical network through an interconnection initiative.