GEBE hopes for extra 6mw by the weekend

GEBE Power Plant experienced some mechanical problems with three generators that lead to several short power outages in certain districts of St. Maarten on Saturday.


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Diesel Generator #16 developed a heavy leak in one of the cylinders heads which resulted in the engine being taken offline for repairs. In addition, Diesel Generators #15 and #17 tripped resulting in a loss of an additional 13 MW. The power plant technicians worked diligently to bring the machines back online but experienced several technical setbacks that resulted in power interruptions lasting up to half an hour.

Between 4 pm and 8 pm areas such as Saunders, St. Peters, Guana Bay, Oyster Pond, Madame Estate, Belverdere and the Beacon Hill-Cupecoy area experienced short power outages. By approximately 8 pm all power was restored and there were no other interruptions during the weekend.

The GEBE power plant is still operating on a very tight production schedule and short power outages continue to be possible until the new machines are online in December. The peak demand measured on Saturday was 49 MW showing an increase of close to 10% compared to the same period in 2008. However, some maneuvering room may become available by the weekend.

GEBE technicians are currently finalizing work on DG#7 which should add another 6 MW of capacity by the end of this week.

The final stages of work on DG#7, which was severely damaged by a fire last year, consist of replacing and refitting the lube oil coolers. The coolers consist of approximately 100 individual plates that need to be meticulously installed and attached in order to avoid water and oil leaks. If all goes well the generator will undergo its first test run by the end of the week and could be in full production by next week.

The increased capacity should reduce the frequency of outages experienced by the public until the new generators are commissioned.