BPU working on turbine problem, should not affect customers

By Nick Gosnell
March 23, 2015

McPherson Board of Public Utilities General Manager Tim Maier spoke to the McPherson City Commission on Monday about maintenance work going on at the utility.

Maier said, "We did start overhauling one of our gas turbines last week. We have four gas turbine generating units. Three are at Plant 2. one is at Power Plant number 3. Periodically, depending upon how much we run, we do a borescope on the machine, hire a contractor to come in and spend about a day looking at each machine, maybe half a day, to see if there are any issues inside."

Some issues were found inside this particular turbine. The first stage nozzle, which is stationary, was having a problem, which has migrated downstream to the first stage buckets, which rotate.

Maier said, "We don't want the rotating part to hit the fixed part, so we decided to go ahead and look at it. Hopefully, by the end of this week, we'll have everything apart."

Then they will evaluate the different components and see how many spare parts they have.

Maier said, "We do have another first-stage nozzle. We do have combustion liners that we can put in if we need to. So, we have some parts to go back, but if there's some things we have to ship off, we'll have to wait for the return of those. Otherwise, I would guess that within a couple weeks, we may start going back together, which would be a good thing."

The gas turbines are a way for BPU to generate power on its own, though the vast majority of the power BPU distributes is generated elsewhere by Westar and passed along to customers.