GEBE power plant experienced mechanical difficulties with three generators on Saturday, June 27, 2009 that lead to outages and eventually load shedding until the engines could be brought back on line. About 9 a.m. on Saturday, GEBE generators #14 and #15 tripped due to low oil pressure. Meanwhile generator #17 shut down due to problems with its water pump. Diesel generator #12 exhaust bellows broke and was taken out of operation. This reduced the generating capacity by 20 MW at the height of these problems, resulting in load shedding.The areas that were affected were St. Peters, Saunders, Betty’s Estate, Mullet Bay, some areas of Cole Bay. Oyster Pond, Ebenezer, Madame Estate and Middle Region experienced intermittent power supply.
GEBE deployed additional technicians to address the generator problems. During the course of the day, they were able to stabilize the situation and bring most engines back on line. At approximately 5:30 p.m. all electricity was restored. However, it will take a few days to finalize the repairs to the broken exhaust bellows on diesel engine #12. Due to the warm weather, the electricity demand has increased significantly. GEBE power plant capacity is just enough to meet the current demand. The generating capacity was reduced last July to a fire on an 8 MW generator, which is still out of commission as it is undergoing a complete overhaul and needs specialize made to order parts. GEBE Power Plant is already undergoing expansion with the two 11.2 MW generators expected on the island within the next two weeks and should be commissioned in December 2009 just in time for the beginning of the high tourism season. In the mean time, any additional mechanical problems may lead to short power interruptions. If load shedding becomes necessary, GEBE will make the load shedding schedule available to the media. Updates will also be posted as they become available on the GEBE website at www.nvgebe.com. GEBE apologizes to its clients for the inconvenience caused by these outages