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Caribbean-On-Line / St. Barts / Local Stuff / News / EDF Employees on Strike

EDF Employees on Strike

On April 10, 2006, an agreement was signed by the electricity providers of St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barth and Anguilla to connect the four different electricity systems that exist on the three islands. After a feasibility study, they signed a Joint Development Agreement with plans to begin the work in 2007 and to put the program in service in June 2008.

On Thursday, September 21, the employees of EDF, the electric company in St. Barth, went on strike to denounce the execution of connecting these four systems without first renovating the St. Barth power plant. As stated by the workers, their objective is not to sabotage the project, but to ask the population to question the advisability of losing the island's energy independence. In addition, the EDF employees of St. Barth denounced the project to join the electrical services without assurance of first renovating and extending the capacity of the current power plant. The newest equipment was purchased in 1997. The oldest engines date from 1988 and, approaching 100,000 hours of use, are at the end of their life. According to the workers, it's becoming difficult, almost impossible, to keep the power supply 100% available. However, no renovation and no increase of available power is anticipated despite the fact that use of electricity increases 8% each year. The workers are waiting to hear from EDF that the plant will be renovated before the project continues. As well, they waiting to hear the opinions of the locally elected representatives of St. Barth - are they for or against this project? And, have they asked EDF to renovate the current power plant before proceeding?

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