GEBE did it yeah… or not!??

Sint Maarten’s Power Struggle: GEBE’s Plan to End Load Shedding

The island of Sint Maarten has been grappling with persistent power outages, as GEBE, the national power company, struggles to meet demand. With four out of ten generators out of service, the company faces a daily shortage of 15 MW, resulting in widespread load shedding that affects both residents and businesses.

In a recent parliamentary meeting, Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina unveiled GEBE’s short-term and long-term plans to address this critical issue. The immediate solution involves renting containerized generators to boost capacity, while agreements with large consumers aim to reduce peak demand. Long-term plans include the purchase of new generators and potential financing options.

However, as we delve into the details of this plan, questions arise about its feasibility, timeline, and financial implications. Let’s examine GEBE’s proposed solutions and the challenges that lie ahead for Sint Maarten’s power sector.

Critical analysis and questions:

  1. Inconsistency in numbers and capacity:
    • The article mentions one 10 MW container, but later refers to 18 x 20 ft containers with a total capacity of 20 MW.
    • Question: What is the exact number and capacity of the rented containers?
  2. Timeline and problem resolution:
    • The mobilization fee is to be paid on June 26, 2024.
    • It’s stated that containers will be operational 5 weeks after payment.
    • Later, it’s mentioned that shipping takes 6 weeks and connection takes another 3 weeks.
    • Question: What is the actual timeline for the containers to become operational?
  3. Short warranty period:
    • The warranty is indeed short: 15 months after arrival, 12 months after installation, or 1000 running hours.
    • Question: Why was such a short warranty period chosen, given the high costs and crucial role of these generators?
  4. Financial feasibility:
    • The total costs for renting the containers are significant ($1,942,150 USD, excluding fuel).
    • It’s described as a “lease to own” for 36 months.
    • Question: How can GEBE afford these costs, given the financial problems you mentioned?
  5. Long-term solution:
    • The purchase of three new 9 MW generators costs approximately $42 million.
    • These will only be operational in 18-24 months.
    • Question: Is this a realistic solution given GEBE’s and SXM’s current financial situation?
  6. Fuel supply:
    • A 3-day fuel tank is mentioned as “crucial for contingency”.
    • Question: Is a 3-day supply sufficient for an island dependent on imports and at the start of the hurricane season?
  7. Dependency on large consumers:
    • Agreements are made with large consumers to go offline at scheduled times.
    • Question: What are the implications for these businesses and the local economy?
  8. Uncertainty about Engine 19:
    • If the crankshaft test fails, a new one must be ordered for $2.5 million.
    • Question: Is this amount included in the current budget? What’s the plan if these extra costs are incurred?
  9. Total problem resolution:
    • It’s unclear when all issues will be fully resolved.
    • Question: Can a clear timeline be provided for when the power supply will be fully stable again?
  10. Sustainability:
    • There’s little mention of sustainable energy sources.
    • Question: Why isn’t there more focus on renewable energy sources like solar or wind power, given Sint Maarten’s geographical location?

There are still many uncertainties and potential problems in the proposed plan. It appears that there will be some improvement in the short term, but there’s no solid long-term solution that takes into account GEBE’s financial situation and the island’s sustainability goals. In short, To our humble opinion the work done and communicated states that GEBE and the Government is still underestimating the people of SXM. When does the bullshit stop????