Overloaded interconnector caused it to trip, PN MP claims

Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut claims the interconnector was being overloaded throughout Storm Helios

Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut claims that the interconnector was being overloaded before last week’s powercut, around the same time that the Electrogas power plant had to grind to a halt because the LNG tanker had to pull away from its jetty.

The powerful Storm Helios battered the Maltese islands on Thursday and Friday, forcing the tanker to use a storm mooring system that allows it to move a short distance from the jetty and become stable when the sea is too rough for it to work safely.

It was put into its storm mooring position on Friday at 2:30am. But later on Friday morning parts of Malta were left without electricity. Enemalta said that the undersea interconnector had ‘tripped’.

During parliamentary questions on Tuesday, PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut asked Energy Minister Miriam Dalli whether the tanker was moored during or after the storm, and whether the interconnector was being overloaded.

Dalli accused him of failing to verify the facts, insisting that the interconnector tripped due to damage and not overloading, and that the storm mooring system is a normal procedure that takes place upon the advice of the transport authorities.

“Our procedure is that when something happens to one source of energy, we turn to other sources. The same thing happens when there are problems with the interconnector.”

But Sammut insisted that the interconnector was being overloaded during the storm. He also tabled figures in parliament which appear to indicate that the interconnector was being overloaded before the black out and after.  

Last Saturday, the Energy Minister issued a statemenet explaining that the supply for the electricity demand was coming through various sources, namely renewable energy, the interconnector, and the Delimara Power Station’s D3 and D2.

So while the demand for electricity stood at around 400MW at the time of last Friday’s powercut, Malta was at no point fully reliant on the interconnector and the interconnector was never overloaded, according to the miniser.