GEBE's new generator being offloaded back in 2016 (file photo).

 

PHILIPSBURG--Utilities company GEBE is experiencing a delay in the overhaul of its newest engine that it installed in 2016, called Engine #20.

  The engine is out of operation for its first major overhaul since being installed and going into operation, Minister with responsibility for the light and water company, Christopher Wever said on Wednesday.

  He said there are some delays with the overhaul and that is mainly due to the engine manufacturer. “The engine turbo chargers had to be sent overseas for inspection/repairs and are soon to be prepared and shipped back to the island; we are also awaiting two different spare parts for the unit. This expected date to restart the unit is dependent on the return of the turbo chargers,” Wever said in response to a number of questions from this newspaper on the engines, sent via his public relations officer. The minister obtained the answers from the utilities company.

  “Once all items are on island, within one week the unit will be back in operation. The repairs have nothing to do with NV GEBE not having money/funds, etc. to execute the repairs, buy spare parts or the like; rest assured that all financial obligations to our vendors are being complied with. NV GEBE is steadily increasing to a [level of – Ed.] financial stability as prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. NV GEBE remains efficient with its operations.”

  The minister said also that another engine had a fault and was taken out of operation on Tuesday about 1:00am for it to cool down and repairs were carried out during the day to late evening Tuesday. This maintenance was preventive as the fault that was detected would have led to failure and required additional cost and parts. The unit is back in operation at present.

  “We had two of the three largest units down for a day at the same time. NV GEBE has 11 units at the power plant that are operational. You may have a unit or two down for maintenance at times. The services are being executed on the units which led to an overhaul interval after predefined operating hours, as per manufacturer.

  The cost for repair varies greatly depending on what is being executed as maintenance: cost can be for replacement of an injector, a fuel pump, cylinder head, piston service or a major overhaul. It is not one cost for each repair; the cost can run from hundreds of guilders to millions.”

  There have been several outages in a number of districts in recent days, some of which were brief and some not. In a message to the media after some outages in Madame Estate and parts of Arch Road, Sucker Garden, on Tuesday, GEBE media relations officer Paula Gordon said the company had been experiencing “some issues at the power plant,” and that technicians had been working on restoring power to the affected areas in the shortest possible time.