PHILIPSBURG–Utilities company GEBE on Monday outlined the challenges it is facing with several of its engines being maintained, repaired or overhauled, resulting in almost daily load-shedding in the various districts.
The company said all engines at the power plant currently were being operated to meet the daily demand, but should one engine develop any type of issue this might result in load-shedding. “In addition, the power plant has enough capacity to service the entire [Dutch side of the – Ed.] island. However, due to maintenance work and overhaul presently being carried out on the engines, until these are completed, load-shedding may continue.”
GEBE said load-shedding occurred mostly in residential areas to avoid disrupting the business community. “Load-shedding is when power is short of the demand and in order to operate the power plant stably there needs to be a disconnection of power in order to have the supply and the demand equal at all times with stable voltage and stable frequency.”
GEBE said three of its engines that provide a total of 18 megawatts of power are being repaired and/or overhauled. The overhaul of engine #17 should be completed by this weekend. Engine #12’s intake valve was damaged and currently is being repaired, and engine #7 that was damaged by a fire is awaiting parts that have a delivery time of about 10 weeks.
Engine #14 developed a mechanical failure during operation over the weekend. On inspection a pushrod was damaged and this was repaired shortly after the engine had some time to cool down. GEBE said its Maintenance Department “did all that was in their power” to have the engine back in operation the very same day.
In addition, one of the largest engines that provides 11 megawatts of power experienced electrical problems with different causes on three different occasions last week, which resulted in load-shedding across Dutch St. Maarten.
By this weekend engines that are down for repair and overhaul should be back online to reduce the chance of load-shedding.
“However, with that said there is one 8 megawatt engine that is pending overhaul in the next week or two which should last three to four weeks before being put back in operation.
“The overhauls of the larger units were scheduled for later down in the year. However, due to the hurricane season the overhaulswere put as a priority noting the peak of active hurricane season right around the corner,” the company said in a press release. “NV GEBE would prefer to have all engines that can run with air coolers 100 per cent available during the hurricane season.”
GEBE said, “Every effort is being made to have all issues resolved and supply stable and consistent electricity.”
The company’s Facebook page is used to inform the public and update on areas that are affected by load-shedding.
Source: Daily Herald
GEBE: Load shedding possible if more engines develop issues