PHILIPSBURG–Consumers can expect a more stable supply of electricity and an end to load shedding as of yesterday, Friday when utilities company GEBE was expected to repair an issue to its newest engine: Generator #20.
The part for generator #20 was expected to arrive in the country Friday and after an installation process of several hours, the generator was expected to be put back into operation. With this generator back in operation, the power situation is expected to return to normal GEBE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenrick Chittick told reporters at a press conference at GEBE’s main office on the Walter Nisbeth Road early Friday morning.
During the briefing Chittick delivered a presentation outlining the challenges encountered with three of the company’s largest generators: Engine #18, #19 and #20 over the past week. Engine #19 had been down for repairs of a damaged crank shaft failure and for overhaul; #18 developed a turbo failure and #20 had a scheduled maintenance on August 6, and after the servicing and attempts were made to put it back into operation another issue developed. After inspection of this engine (#20), the company noticed that the turbo charger was “slightly damaged.”
Chittick said there were components in the turbo charger that had been damaged that were beyond repair. Manufacturer Wärtsilä, under which the new engine has a warranty, did not have the parts available. GEBE then went to a supplier, who had some parts in Miami and some in England. The parts were ordered, however, while the parts from Miami arrived more than a week ago, the ones from England got stuck at Customs in England and the United States (US).
This is the part that was scheduled to arrive in the country on Friday. The situation with the power supply issues was compounded because parts had been held up. GEBE also requested assistance from one of its suppliers in the US to assist with the assembly of the new part to alleviate the burden on its technicians who had been taxed from working hard all week.
Regarding engine #18, Chittick said this developed a turbo failure on Thursday and as the part was in stock, mechanics worked around the clock to get it back online that same evening. This significantly reduced the load shedding on Friday. Regarding Engine #19, Chittick said once the fixing of the crank shaft failure has been completed then GEBE hopes to have this engine back in operation also.
Chittick dismissed claims in the community that the frequent load shedding that was being experienced over the past days had been a result of lack of maintenance and human error. “There are rumours that it was human error that we have turbo charger failure, but that is not true because the turbo charger is enclosed and no one can go in there easily and do any damage to it. The fact is, it happened and we tried to mitigate it with different approaches,” he said.
“No one can predict what can happen to an engine. You can do all the service that you need, but something can still go wrong. Engines have sensors – wires can break, sensors can fail – there are different things that can cause a power interruption,” he said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68687-update-power-situation-back-to-normal