Interconnector repair works to be ready by end March

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Interconnector repair works will be ready by the end of March, according to the timeframe disclosed by Enemalta. However, this is highly dependent on favourable weather conditions.

The interconnector was damaged when a vessel dragged its anchor on the seabed on 23 December 2019 which resulted in a nationwide powercut. The cable was not only cut, but it had also sustained other damage. The vessel was later identified and its insurance was notified about the damage to the interconnector.

In a joint press briefing, Energy Minister Michael Farrugia and Enemalta CEO Jason Vella announced that an agreement to repair the interconnector was signed with Nexans. The announcement came on Friday morning.

The vessel which will carry out the works will be berthed in Marsaxlokk later on this afternoon. The cable will be loaded on Tuesday. According to Enemalta’s timeline and subject to weather conditions, the repair works will be completed by the end of March.

Minister Farrugia highlighted that there were only a few companies which carried out such works, and that they were in demand, however, Enemalta managed to engage a company which would carry out the repairs in a short time.

According to the major tasks as identified by Enemalta, after the repair vessel was identified and mobilized to Malta, the spare cable will be loaded on to the repair vessel. The repair vessel would then sail on site, unearth the cable, lift it, cut it and carry out the necessary repairs, carry out tests and energisation process before it could be buried back into the sea.

The whole process is estimated at €11 million however, the sum is dependent on favourable weather conditions. The money is expected to be paid through insurance claims while no taxpayers’ money is expected to be used in this, according to Mr Vella.

Enemalta CEO Jason Vella explained that the vessel which caused the damage to the interconnector was identified and notified. Due to insurance claims not all details could be disclosed at this stage. The information collected during the surveying stage has all been passed to the insurance.

Vella emphasized that at Enemalta’s aim was to maintain a stable supply of electricity.

During the press briefing, Minister Farrugia emphasized on the need to promote and investment in alternative energy. He dismissed the possibility of having a second interconnector, saying that the country should be able to generate its own energy without being dependent on other states.