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WAPA Approves Emergency Spending For Workhorse Generator

In an emergency meeting Thursday, the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s governing board approved a $1.2 million expansion of work to get its newest and largest St. Thomas generator back online to give the system more reserve capacity and reliability.

The 42-megawatt gas turbine has been down for over a month for an overhaul, creating a shortfall in capacity on St. Thomas, which has been a factor in some power outages.

Vernon Alexander, project coordinator for the overhaul, said that the work was nearly complete when a ground was found in the generator rotor and a fault in one of the stator bars. The stators are the stationary part of a generator, with the metal coils to carry away an electric charge imparted by the passing of magnets spinning on the generator’s rotor.

According to Alexander, the scope of work of WAPA’s original contract with the Wood Group, the gas turbine specialists contracted for the scheduled inspection and repair, envisioned two projects: repairing the generator, and repairing and restoring the stators and other parts removed for those repairs.

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But “none of the parts taken off were deemed repairable,” he said, so new ones need to be purchased instead. “So we are asking for some money for work to be done on stator bars and to cover shipping,” he said.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. told the board that the damage was caused by moisture, probably from very heavy rains in October that got into the generator while it was partially disassembled for overhaul. During normal use it would be tightly sealed, Hodge said.

The overhaul was originally scheduled to be complete by Oct. 18, but with the change in scope it will now be pushed back to Dec. 23.

The stator bars are expected to arrive in the territory by Nov. 30 and the rotor by Dec. 11, according to Alexander. If all goes well, repairs should be completed by Dec. 20, and the unit will be tested and put into service three days later, according to Alexander and WAPA’s Chief Operating Officer Gregory Rhymer.

“Once installation is complete on the 20th, there will be three days of performance testing,” Rhymer said.

The generator’s overhaul was initially estimated at $2.4 million. The board approved an additional $1.2 million for evaluation, repairs, and shipping charges for the generator’s rotor and 27 stator bars, which were sent off to New Mexico for work.

Part of the new costs will by offset by $413,000 culled from the original project estimate due to changes in the work scope. The rest will come from reprogramming, not more than $750,000 from other sources. The new project total is up to $3.1 million.

Board members voting for the extra funding and changed scope of work were: Chairwoman Juanita Young, Wayne Biggs, Brenda Benjamin, Noel Loftus, Cheryl Jackson, Robert Mathes, Donald Francois and Gerald Groner. Kenneth Hermon, Jr. was absent.

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In an emergency meeting Thursday, the V.I. Water and Power Authority's governing board approved a $1.2 million expansion of work to get its newest and largest St. Thomas generator back online to give the system more reserve capacity and reliability.

The 42-megawatt gas turbine has been down for over a month for an overhaul, creating a shortfall in capacity on St. Thomas, which has been a factor in some power outages.

Vernon Alexander, project coordinator for the overhaul, said that the work was nearly complete when a ground was found in the generator rotor and a fault in one of the stator bars. The stators are the stationary part of a generator, with the metal coils to carry away an electric charge imparted by the passing of magnets spinning on the generator's rotor.

According to Alexander, the scope of work of WAPA's original contract with the Wood Group, the gas turbine specialists contracted for the scheduled inspection and repair, envisioned two projects: repairing the generator, and repairing and restoring the stators and other parts removed for those repairs.

But “none of the parts taken off were deemed repairable,” he said, so new ones need to be purchased instead. “So we are asking for some money for work to be done on stator bars and to cover shipping,” he said.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. told the board that the damage was caused by moisture, probably from very heavy rains in October that got into the generator while it was partially disassembled for overhaul. During normal use it would be tightly sealed, Hodge said.

The overhaul was originally scheduled to be complete by Oct. 18, but with the change in scope it will now be pushed back to Dec. 23.

The stator bars are expected to arrive in the territory by Nov. 30 and the rotor by Dec. 11, according to Alexander. If all goes well, repairs should be completed by Dec. 20, and the unit will be tested and put into service three days later, according to Alexander and WAPA’s Chief Operating Officer Gregory Rhymer.

“Once installation is complete on the 20th, there will be three days of performance testing,” Rhymer said.


The generator's overhaul was initially estimated at $2.4 million. The board approved an additional $1.2 million for evaluation, repairs, and shipping charges for the generator's rotor and 27 stator bars, which were sent off to New Mexico for work.

Part of the new costs will by offset by $413,000 culled from the original project estimate due to changes in the work scope. The rest will come from reprogramming, not more than $750,000 from other sources. The new project total is up to $3.1 million.

Board members voting for the extra funding and changed scope of work were: Chairwoman Juanita Young, Wayne Biggs, Brenda Benjamin, Noel Loftus, Cheryl Jackson, Robert Mathes, Donald Francois and Gerald Groner. Kenneth Hermon, Jr. was absent.