DH editorial: In the dark

While the prospect of load-shedding was obviously not welcomed, many still appreciated the detailed explanation of the current energy production issues provided in Tuesday’s newspaper. Although some suffered outages before being able to read the story, in general the attempt to be accountable to the public was well received.

It also raised questions, such as why an engine would be overhauled precisely when there was one with a damaged intake valve and another damaged in a fire awaiting parts. As Murphy’s Law would have it, a fourth machine then developed a mechanical failure, contributing to the ongoing electricity saga in St. Maarten.

Major maintenance must be done according to schedule to protect the expensive equipment and prevent breakdowns, but one wonders whether with a bit more foresight and flexibility it might have been possible to synchronise matters a little better.

At the same time, wanting all the air-cooled units operational during the peak of the hurricane season makes all the sense in the world considering past experience with the clogging of the water intake at the Cay Bay power plant by seaweed and other debris during stormy weather. While this problem was partly solved through technical adjustments not too long ago, it remains a vulnerable point.

By now there is not much to do other than hope the output can be increased back to the level needed to meet demand as soon as possible. Three or more power cuts of several hours each within less than a day is no fun all, hurts businesses, spoils food in refrigerators and negatively affects appliances just to name a few, but at least those involved are only literally, not figuratively, in the dark.
Source: Daily Herald
In the dark