Guam - One of the Guam Power Authority's most efficient base load generators has been down since last year. But could its repair result in lower power bills?
Cabras 3 produces 39 megawatts of power, but in the last few months, GPA's most modern and efficient unit has been offline. "In late 2012, we discovered cracks similar to this on the shaft of the generator. So what did we do? We immediately shut the unit down and started working on a recovery plan to return this unit to service," explained GPA assistant general manager for operations Melinda Camacho. She said that plan has its crew, its manufacturers and performance management contractors hard at work.
"And involved in that recovery plan was identifying resources, tools, equipment, technical experts to get us to where we need to be where is this unit back online," Camacho added.
The recovery process requires that Cabras 3 be disassembled and the rotor shaft be replaced. The rotor shaft basically is what's connected to the engine and part of the turning motion that creates a magnetic field ultimately generating power for GPA. After inspection and analysis, the utility agency will decide if a new rotor disc is needed but in the meantime, the generator will be overhauled, serviced and prepared for reassembly.
So what does this mean for the customer? Camacho says the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause filed in February already reflects that Cabras 3 isn't available, so a portion of that increase in your power bill came as a result of the system being down. So once repaired, will power bills go down?
"Possibly, remember LEAC also is the price of fuel, so we can't look to the future to see if fuel will go down or how much it will go up if does, but this definitely will help," Camacho stated.
While GPA does have enough baseload to serve its customers, Camacho hopes the project is on scope, on time and on budget or approximately $4.5 million. Completion is expected by September.