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Fire breaks out in Enemalta network tunnels in St Julian’s

Enemalta responds to fire emergency in network tunnels, power cut in parts of St Julian’s, Pembroke, Maghtab, Bahar ic-Caghaq, Swieqi and San Gwann

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
26 August 2017, 8:35am
Enemalta employees worked throughout the night to repair extensive network damages, after a fire in one of the company’s electricity distribution tunnels disrupted supply to customers in parts of St Julian’s and nearby localities like Pembroke, early on Saturday morning.

The  24/7 Network Planning and Operations Control Centre registered a network disturbance at the company’s St Andrew’s 33 kV Distribution Centre, in Pembroke, at 12:26am on Saturday morning. The distribution centre was disconnected from the national grid, disrupting electricity supply to customers in parts of St Julian’s, Pembroke, Maghtab, Bahar ic-Caghaq, Swieqi and San Gwann.

As soon as the fire in the tunnel supplying this distribution centre was identified, Civil Protection Department fire-fighters arrived at the distribution centre to enter the smoke-filled tunnel and extinguish the flames. The burning cables were located several hundred metres inside the underground tunnel. Enemalta officials and engineers were also on site to assess the damages as soon as it was safe to enter the tunnel.

Works to repair the 33 kV cables damaged by the fire and reconnect the St Andrew’s distribution centre to the national grid started as soon as the CPD confirmed it was safe for the engineers and technicians to reach the incident area. Several Enemalta employees are still inside the tunnel and will continue working throughout the day to complete the repairs. 

In the meantime, electricity supply to the customers affected started being gradually restored to some of the customers affected, through alternative connections. A few small areas in parts of Swieqi, Pembroke and Bahar ic-Caghaq will be reconnected to the network as soon as the cable repair works are completed.

Enemalta said it was looking into the incident to identify and implement any measures that may be required to minimise the risk of similar difficulties. 

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.