BPU continues turbine work, condition worse than hoped

By Nick Gosnell
April 06, 2015

McPherson Board of Public Utilities General Manager Tim Maier gave the McPherson City Commission a progress report on the gas turbine work being done at Power Plant Number 3 that started about three weeks ago.

Maier said, "We did find additional issues with the machine. We actually had to pull the compressor out. We found damage on some of the compressor blades. It took us about an extra week to get that apart and we shipped it to GE in Houston last week. Hopefully, they'll be done and it will be back to us by May 15th. As you can tell, that has definitely delayed our schedule."

The original hope was to have the machine completely back together by then. That's not going to happen.

Maier said, "We've extended the outage to mid-June. We also found the first stage compressor bucket, or first stage turbine buckets were stuck. Those need to have some room to expand as they heat up. We've hired a GE crew to come in this week and start removing those and freeing those buckets up. Hopefully, they'll get done this week or next week, but again, it's going to be out for a little bit longer than we originally anticipated and cost a little more than we had hoped for."

Again, these turbines are only used when additional power is needed over and above that sold to the utility by Westar Energy, so barring a catastrophic event, customers should see no difference in their daily lives as a result of this work.