GEBE to absorb higher fuel costs in October

POSTED: 10/11/11 1:26 PM

St. Maarten – GEBE is in the process of reviewing the fuel clause in the electricity bills that customers will receive at the end of October. This action is related to the fact that GEBE had to operate with higher than usual amounts of LFO light fuel, which is more expensive than HFO residual fuel which is cheaper and more typically used. Should the effect of the more expensive LFO light fuel be charged to the consumers, the fuel clause in this month’s electricity bills would be Ang. 44.6cts/kWh. In order to avoid this excessive charge in fuel clause, management contacted the Supervisory Board of GEBE with the request to consider a reduction in the fuel charge. The Supervisory Board unanimously agreed for GEBE to absorb the difference, due to the higher consumption of the more expensive LFO light Fuel. It has therefore been agreed by the Supervisory Board that fuel clause charge this month will be reduced to Ang. 34.07cts/kWh.

The electronically distributed electricity bills with Ang. 44.6 cts/kWh has been sent out already to the consumers who receive their electricity bills by email. For this group of consumers, we advise that they pay their bills and the difference in fuel clause will be credited to their account for the next month’s electricity bill. The electricity bills that are normally hand-delivered to our consumers or by mail have not been sent out as yet. The fuel clause on these electricity bills will be Ang. 34.07 cts/kWh instead of 44.6 cts/kWh.

The use of the more expensive fuel occurred because one of the largest production units which was delivered by Wartsila in December 2009, caught an internal fire in the electrical generator, while the unit was still under normal guarantee of the supplier. To date after seven months the generator has not been replaced as yet by the supplier. Another large production unit of 11.6 Mega Watt had to be stopped for inspection in August this year, because of increased blow by gasses in the crank case. After dismantling and inspection, it was observed that several parts had to be replaced. These parts were ordered but GEBE has yet to get a firm delivery date from Wartsila despite repeated urgent requests. The parts have to be flown from Europe.
“Because of these two major production units not being available during a prolonged period of time, the operational and maintenance personnel have to perform their normal operational and maintenance duties under abnormal high pressure, which consequently resulted in the abnormal high consumption of the more expensive LFO light fuel. This was necessary to avoid periods of long power interruptions in our service to the public. As GEBE we regret the inconvenience caused to our consumers and we inform the general public that GEBE is doing everything to have the two production units in operation and avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the community,” Interim Managing Director Ing. Paul Marshall wrote in a statement issued Sunday.

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