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WAPA Repairing Big Turbines on St. Thomas

The V.I. Water and Power Authority will be spending several million dollars to inspect, maintain and repair some of its big generating units over the next few months, with several major contracts approved by its governing board Thursday.

The board authorized a $1.76 million contract with Sulzer Turbo Services Inc. for inspection and repairs to unit 23, a big workhorse generator on St. Thomas. The entire process of inspection, maintenance and repair is budgeted at up to $3.57 million.

"This will put us back on our maintenance schedule," assistant plant superintendent John Woodson said. Once the maintenance work is done, the unit will be converted to use liquid propane and should be back online by September, Woodson said.

The board also approved three contracts totaling more than $1 million for repairs to WAPA’s No. 18 gas turbine generating unit on St. Thomas. Woodson said it has excessive wearing of internal parts and severe damage to bearings and turbine rotor blades or "buckets." The board approved a contract for up to $426,536 with Sulzer Turbo Services for turbine rotor repair and generator field inspection; a $230,000 contract with ACT Independent Turbo Services for turbine components; and a $420,000 contract with Turboserve Corporation for turbine reassembly and startup.

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The board also approved a $1.49 million contract with ABB Inc. for a gas-insulated switchgear for a power distribution center on St. Thomas in Estate Donoe. Without the new switchgear and power distribution center, five megawatts of solar power production under construction right now would overload that section of the grid with bad consequences, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. told the board.

Two big insurance policies were also approved Thursday. The board authorized WAPA to purchase property insurance through Marsh Saldana at a cost not to exceed $2.3 million for March 31, 2014 though March 31, 2015; $1.35 million in excess liability insurance through Marsh Saldana for 12 months starting May 1, 2014; and $205,000 in similar insurance through Theodore Tunick to cover WAPA until May 1.

In other business, the board authorized:
– A $50,000 contract amendment to SAIC Energy, Environment and Infrastructure for technical consulting on WAPA’s base rate case with the Public Services Commission. This increases the contract to a total of $425,000;
– A $33,400 contract with Vantage Energy Consulting for a "focused management audit" of its operations, mandated by the PSC;
– A $347,422 contract amendment with Rockwell Automation for smokestack pollution monitoring equipment upgrades, replacement and testing; to get the system to meet its operating permits;
– Increasing the vehicle maintenance budgets for the St. Thomas-St. John electrical system by $124,000 to a total of $292,900; the St. Croix electrical system by $250,000 to $481,250; and the St. Thomas-St. John water system by $36,000 to $96,000;
– extending the date for Stamm Manufacturing to deliver two new digger derrick pole trucks from 150 days to 220 days at no new cost;
– purchase one new digger derrick pole truck from Stamm Manufacturing for up to $292,000;
– extend a lease with Sams Management for WAPA offices at Estate Altona on St. Thomas for two years, while expanding the space by 5,500 square feet and increasing rent by $5,000 per month to $13,400 per month at a total cost of $331,600;
– the executive director to finalize a standby letter of credit with Banco Popular to APR Electric to satisfy the terms of WAPA’s lease of a 2-megawatt trailer mounted combustion turbine;
– A $5,000 per month condominium lease on St. Croix for management staff when they travel to St. Croix. The board has found this to be cheaper than getting hotel rooms;
– approved decommissioning, dismantling and removing unit 10 on St. Croix; units 11, 12 and 13 on St. Thomas; and three of the utility’s legacy IDE water purification units;
– and extending a tree trimming and forestry contract with Asplundh Tree Expert Co. by four months at a total cost of $354,000.

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The V.I. Water and Power Authority will be spending several million dollars to inspect, maintain and repair some of its big generating units over the next few months, with several major contracts approved by its governing board Thursday.

The board authorized a $1.76 million contract with Sulzer Turbo Services Inc. for inspection and repairs to unit 23, a big workhorse generator on St. Thomas. The entire process of inspection, maintenance and repair is budgeted at up to $3.57 million.

"This will put us back on our maintenance schedule," assistant plant superintendent John Woodson said. Once the maintenance work is done, the unit will be converted to use liquid propane and should be back online by September, Woodson said.

The board also approved three contracts totaling more than $1 million for repairs to WAPA's No. 18 gas turbine generating unit on St. Thomas. Woodson said it has excessive wearing of internal parts and severe damage to bearings and turbine rotor blades or "buckets." The board approved a contract for up to $426,536 with Sulzer Turbo Services for turbine rotor repair and generator field inspection; a $230,000 contract with ACT Independent Turbo Services for turbine components; and a $420,000 contract with Turboserve Corporation for turbine reassembly and startup.

The board also approved a $1.49 million contract with ABB Inc. for a gas-insulated switchgear for a power distribution center on St. Thomas in Estate Donoe. Without the new switchgear and power distribution center, five megawatts of solar power production under construction right now would overload that section of the grid with bad consequences, WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. told the board.

Two big insurance policies were also approved Thursday. The board authorized WAPA to purchase property insurance through Marsh Saldana at a cost not to exceed $2.3 million for March 31, 2014 though March 31, 2015; $1.35 million in excess liability insurance through Marsh Saldana for 12 months starting May 1, 2014; and $205,000 in similar insurance through Theodore Tunick to cover WAPA until May 1.

In other business, the board authorized:
- A $50,000 contract amendment to SAIC Energy, Environment and Infrastructure for technical consulting on WAPA's base rate case with the Public Services Commission. This increases the contract to a total of $425,000;
- A $33,400 contract with Vantage Energy Consulting for a "focused management audit" of its operations, mandated by the PSC;
- A $347,422 contract amendment with Rockwell Automation for smokestack pollution monitoring equipment upgrades, replacement and testing; to get the system to meet its operating permits;
- Increasing the vehicle maintenance budgets for the St. Thomas-St. John electrical system by $124,000 to a total of $292,900; the St. Croix electrical system by $250,000 to $481,250; and the St. Thomas-St. John water system by $36,000 to $96,000;
- extending the date for Stamm Manufacturing to deliver two new digger derrick pole trucks from 150 days to 220 days at no new cost;
- purchase one new digger derrick pole truck from Stamm Manufacturing for up to $292,000;
- extend a lease with Sams Management for WAPA offices at Estate Altona on St. Thomas for two years, while expanding the space by 5,500 square feet and increasing rent by $5,000 per month to $13,400 per month at a total cost of $331,600;
- the executive director to finalize a standby letter of credit with Banco Popular to APR Electric to satisfy the terms of WAPA's lease of a 2-megawatt trailer mounted combustion turbine;
- A $5,000 per month condominium lease on St. Croix for management staff when they travel to St. Croix. The board has found this to be cheaper than getting hotel rooms;
- approved decommissioning, dismantling and removing unit 10 on St. Croix; units 11, 12 and 13 on St. Thomas; and three of the utility's legacy IDE water purification units;
- and extending a tree trimming and forestry contract with Asplundh Tree Expert Co. by four months at a total cost of $354,000.