The GEBE Power Plant resorted to load shedding, today, July 1, 2009 when two main generators malfunctioned.
Diesel Generator #12, which produces up to 10 MW, was stopped this morning due to problems with the automatic lube oil filters. These filters are a critical part of the lube oil system that protects the moving parts in the machine.
In addition Diesel Generator #17, which produces approximately 8 MW, developed problems with one of the cylinders. This machine was promptly shut down to prevent overloading which could have resulted in extensive damage. The repairs to this generator took longer than planned because a leaking cylinder head was detected. Further an alert mechanic discovered problems with the lube oil system that could have otherwise caused more problems in a day or so. Due to the diligence of the power plant technicians, the repairs were executed promptly and all power was expected to be restored by 5:00 p.m.
The load shedding affected the areas of Point Blanche, Middle Region, Philipsburg (Pondfill area), Belair-Cay Hill, St. Peters, Pelican, Cole Bay, Simpson Bay, Oyster Pond, and Low Lands.
Due to the warm weather, the electricity demand has increased significantly. GEBE power plant capacity is just enough to meet the current demand. 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 for the inconvenience to its customers as these emergency repairs are carried out. The power plant is looking to restore power to these areas as soon as possible.