TGEN’s incompetent managers put Alice at risk of more blackouts: ETU

Alice Springs “relishes” in the random sounds of silence…on NRL Grand Final night

TGEN’s incompetent managers put Alice at risk of more blackouts: ETU

The Electrical Trades Union has taken aim at TGEN after a significant number of Alice Springs suburbs plunged into darkness on Sunday night. The Union accused TGEN managers of failing their most basic responsibility. Keep the power on.

The union also warned Alice residents to expect extended power outages as a result of management incompetence and refusal to consult with experienced workers that have been keeping the lights on for years.

“While Territory Generation and the Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services, Dale Wakefield have been spruiking the message that the ‘Residents of the Alice Springs community, particularly the Golf Course Estate, have been enjoying the sounds of silence following Ron Goodin Power Station’s successful shift into standby mode one month ago as part of the transition to the new gas-fired Owen Springs Power Station’, (Media Statement NT Government) they were also the first people to lose power when testing of the new Battery Energy Supply System (BESS) failed on Sunday night causing Alice Springs residents to be left in the dark wondering what happened and what the score was in the NRL Grand Final,” ETU Northern Territory organiser, Dave Strawbs Hayes said.

There were reports of power outages in the suburbs of the Golf Course, Gap, Larapinta, Gillen, Araluen, and Ciccone. Hayes stated that preliminary investigations suggest that during testing of the new Battery System (BESS) the new Jenbacher generators and the BESS failed to respond quickly enough to prevent the outage occurring.

“Previous testing has always had the Ron Goodin Power Station on-line, which has masked the performance of OSPS Stage 2. Back in April we raised significant issues about the quality of the load testing and capacity of the replacement systems at Owen Springs.” Territory Generation has previously declared that the Battery System is Consistently exceeding operational expectations and can provide enough grid support to maintain system frequency and help prevent blackouts and loss of power to customers. Unfortunately, the BESS was not in a state to respond to the fault and did not work as required Hayes said.

“The control of the Alice Springs Generators has now been transferred to the Darwin-based Remote Operations Centre (ROC) since the Ron Goodin Power Station (RGPS) was turned off with some local staff at the Owen Springs Power Station being Outside Operators (OO) to look after the engines on site.

It would also appear that the correct generators were not online at the time, which is a mandatory requirement from PowerWater System Control in Darwin. Previously, this would have gone through the checks and balances of the Senior Generation Operators at Ron Goodin to ensure compliance, however, Territory Generation has done everything in their power to remove these experienced workers from the picture pending the imminent closure of RGPS.” He said.

Hayes said. “The ETU demands that Dale Wakefield immediately steps in to ensure that all the information that led to the shutdown of RGPS, that has to date been hidden from workers, is provided in an open and transparent manner to workers and their representatives to ensure that corners aren’t being cut at the expense of Alice Springs residents leading into the hottest time of the year.”

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