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Fast-Fix Tech Brings Quick End to Mahakam Blackout Crisis

February 07, 2017
On July 9, 2015, a two-person GE Power Services support team in Houston, Texas came to the rescue of 1.4 million people living 15,000 kilometers away in East Kalimantan province, Indonesia.

The day before, two GE LM6000 gas turbines in operation at the PLTG Senipah (PLTGS) power plant in Teluk Pemegas village, malfunctioned cutting power to three cities – Balikpapan, Tenggarong, and Samarinda - connected to the plant’s Mahakam network.

Watch this animated video to learn how the Quick Response Center resolved a power outage crisis that could have left 1.4 million people without electricity for more than a week.

 While the PLTGS maintenance teams got emergency systems up and running, to restore power to the three affected cities in seven hours, they could not revive the turbine engines after a day and night of trying. Failure to restart the engines would have led to more blackouts for much longer periods.

As a last resort, the PLTGS team contacted GE’s Quick Response Center (ORC) in Houston for help. The GE engineers who assisted the support team included Eren Akcay, support engineer, and Peter Agelink, lead engineer, service engineering, GE Power Services.

Speaking about the case, Peter said, “When the customer contacted the QRC team and stressed the urgency of the issue, we worked quickly to review the problem. In simple terms, the central processing units of the turbines had ‘tripped’ after the malfunction, and the customer was having trouble getting them out of a four-hour ‘lock out’ phase which de-energizes the turbine’s engine ignition and starter.

“Using a remote connection, and our diagnostics technology, we were able to walk the customer through the problem, and steps, to resolve it. As three cities faced more potential blackouts, we were pleased to make the fix in under 10-minutes.”

The fast-fix allowed PLTGS to fully-resolve the issue within five days. PLTGS estimates the remote solution saved them a lot of money as well – up to $1.8 million – the cost of hiring outside contractors, buying new parts, and closing the plant for up to two weeks, to correct the issue.