A fault in the DC voltage control system at the Cay Bay power plant caused a total blackout on St. Maarten early Sunday morning. The blackout lasted a total of nine hours. GEBE power plant technicians were on the scene working frantically to locate the fault. Pinpointing the exact location of the fault proved to be extremely difficult and took several hours of intense troubleshooting.

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At the same time, a separate crew of mechanics was busy repairing one of the main startup generators that had failed in the process to ensure that once the problem had been fixed, the power plant would be up and running as soon as possible. That crew discovered that the air pressure needed to start up the generators had dropped to extremely low levels. Increasing the air pressure to the required level of approximately 60 bars proved to be extremely challenging. At approximately 2:00 p.m., the air pressure was restored to acceptable levels and the process of systematically restarting the engines and bringing them online could begin.

Restoring power to the St. Maarten Medical Center was GEBE’s first priority. Power was restored to this area at approximately 2:30 p.m., followed by other high priority areas such as the Cay Bay water plant and police stations. By 5 p.m. almost all areas on St. Maarten had electricity.

GEBE would like to extend its sincere apologies to the community of St. Maarten for the unexpected and lengthy interruption in service.