General Public Statement NV GEBE

June 1, 2024 6:55 pm

For Immediate Release

In light of the recent articles published by several Media Houses regarding NV GEBE, NV GEBE seeks to clarify the information released and is committed to ensuring the public receives accurate information about our company’s generation resources, both in its dissemination and reception.

The current state of affairs at NV GEBE's power plant is as follows: the company operates a fleet of ten traditional power generation units, which are reciprocating diesel engines. Out of these ten units, three (30% of the total fleet) have exceeded their technical lifespan of 30 years. Although these units are still operational and serve as peak shavers to meet daily demand, they are less efficient and unreliable, posing various challenges. These aging units account for an estimated 18% of the company’s total operational capacity and are a primary cause of reduced efficiency.

In addition to efficiency concerns, the increase in climate change and temperature across the Caribbean, coupled with a growing economy, has led to a rapid increase in load demand. This has created several challenges for the company in maintaining its reliability criteria, known as N-2. This criterion is used industry-wide, where power utility companies plan for contingencies involving the loss of their two largest production units while still being able to meet customer demand.

On May 5th, 2024, the company experienced an issue with one of its largest production units, Diesel Generator Set # 19, due to a bearing failure. Experts are currently assessing whether the bearing journal can be repaired. This unit was scheduled for a major overhaul in the fourth quarter of this year, but due to the recent failure, the company has decided to perform the major overhaul simultaneously with the bearing assessment. Consequently, N.V. GEBE is no longer in alignment with the N-2 reliability criteria. The situation is critical because the company is also not meeting the lower standard of the N-1 criterion which involves the loss of one production unit due to record high demand. This misalignment is the main cause of the current load shedding.

Presently, all remaining nine production units are operational, and the team at the power plant is working diligently to address any arising issues to mitigate widespread load shedding. Additionally, NV GEBE emphasizes the importance of adhering to the preventive maintenance program to maintain current reliability despite ongoing challenges. The company is pursuing both short-term solutions to curb load shedding and long-term solutions to address increasing load demand and improve the reliability of the power plant.”

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Photo caption: NV GEBE's plant in Cay Bay. Source Corporate Communication Department.