Acting Minister of VROMI Veronica Jansen-Webster on the GEBE Energy Crisis

1659
Acting Minister of VROMI Veronica Jansen-Webster with GEBE staff at the power plant
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Acting Prime Minister and Acting Minister of VROMI, Veronica Jansen-Webster, said, ” concerning the ongoing energy crisis impacting our island, at 4:01 PM, a complete blackout occurred at the GEBE power plant, marking a critical juncture in a series of unfortunate events that began with the failure of Engine 19 on May 5th.”
This morning, the crisis escalated when a fire in the auxiliary boiler of Engine 9 caused additional outages, rendering Engines 8 and 9, along with the previously affected Engine 19, inoperative. This has resulted in a loss of 15 MW of electricity production capacity, severely impacting our electrical grid.
The GEBE team has been working relentlessly to manage this situation and has successfully restarted the plant with a small 1 MW generator. Efforts to reactivate additional engines are underway. However, with only seven engines currently operational and a peak demand of 57 MW, load shedding will be necessary in the near future, leading to temporary and rotating power outages across the island.
In response to the critical nature of the blackout, an emergency meeting of the Regionaal Platform Crisissamenwerking was convened by the Dutch Representation in Philipsburg at 5:30 PM today. The session aimed to assess the situation and explore immediate remedial actions. We are thankful for the solidarity shown by Curacao and Aruba, our partners in the Kingdom, who have pledged to send additional generators to aid us. This gesture, however, necessitates coordination with military forces for transport, a process that we are initiating this evening.
During these trying times, the Acting Prime Minister urges all citizens to demonstrate community spirit and mutual support. Those with generators are encouraged to share resources with neighbors, particularly to assist with preserving essential medications and baby supplies.
We regret the inconvenience and difficulties that this crisis has imposed on our community. Please be assured that every measure is being taken to restore full power to our island. We are determined and confident that together, we will overcome these challenges.
“The government appreciates the patience, understanding, and cooperation of all residents as we navigate through these difficulties,” concluded deputy PM Jansen-Webster.