‘Uncommon’ mechanical incident cause of three-day load-shedding

‘Uncommon’ mechanical incident  cause of three-day load-shedding

~ Hotels were asked to switch to generators ~

PHILIPSBURG--An “uncommon mechanical incident” with one of GEBE’s baseload production units resulted in last week’s three-day load-shedding by utilities company GEBE.

  The situation prompted GEBE to request primarily hotels to assist in lowering the load by switching over to their generators during the peak hours of the day.

  The company said in a press statement Sunday night that the load-shedding was not due to the company running out of fuel, as was suggested, and urged consumers to monitor the company’s Facebook page and reputable media outlets for updated pressing matters and information.

  According to the company, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought many challenges worldwide, from the re-scheduling of logistics to several lockdowns and travel restrictions, GEBE’s general scheduled maintenance programme was delayed.

  “Nevertheless, N.V. GEBE has been diligently working to maintain the reliability of the various production units while simultaneously executing the 2021 maintenance programme,” the company said. “However, throughout this process, the power plant encountered an uncommon mechanical incident with one of the baseload production units.”

  Several teams of mechanics were scheduled and worked tirelessly day and night to resolve this issue.

  “Consequently, while the engines were being repaired, due to the generation shortfall, the company had no alternative but to implement a load-shedding schedule. Proactively, the company requested assistance from several large consumers, mainly the hotels, in a joint effort to help sustain the existing operational supply by switching over to their generators during the peak hours of the day.”

  GEBE said also that load-shedding is conducted rationally as a measure and a last resort to protect its system from a complete shutdown. To minimise the impact of load-shedding on the entire Dutch side of the island, GEBE said it is only able to load-shed in certain districts during the week, to minimise power interruptions to school districts and critical businesses. On the weekend those areas are added to the load-shedding list.

  The issues with the engine were expected to be rectified by Sunday, June 6, and the load-shedding schedule will be discontinued as of today, Monday, June 7.

  Work on the engine presently undergoing a scheduled major overhaul remains on target and the engine will be put back into operation soon.

  GEBE is also currently in the process of upgrading its power plant’s automation system to a server-based control system. Throughout this process, GEBE will be keeping the public informed in the event any planned power interruptions are necessary during the migration phase. The server-based control system upgrade will aid the production plant effectively and increase the reliability of the electrical system, it was stated in the release.

  GEBE Temporary Manager Mauricio Dembrook apologised for any inconvenience caused and thanked the public for their patience and understanding. Dembrook said he is grateful to his hardworking and dedicated staff for all the hard work that was done throughout the past few days.