Turbine troubles at Carrollton generating station

Loss of two turbines causes concern for pumping capability

Thomas Perumean
December 15, 2019 - 9:11 am
Turbine Troubles at Carrollton Generating Station

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The explosion that rocked the Carrollton Avenue generating plant Saturday afternoon could have serious repercussions for New Orleans is a serious storm hits the City.  

S&WB's main turbine Number-Four went off line Saturday with a compressor problem.  That's when back up turbine Number-Five was started up.  

For some, so far unexplained, reason turbine Number-Five failed spectacularly in an explosion so loud it shattered windows in the nearby neighborhood and left many with ringing in their ears. 

But the problem is the loss of power at a lower 25-cycle frequency, which is the main job of the two stricken turbines.  

Without turbines Number-Four and Number-Five, S&WB has about one-half of the needed electricity to run the pumps used during heavy rainfall.  

For now, S&WB is buying 60-cycle power from Entergy and feeding it through the utility's own frequency changer to supply power to the pumps that run on the older, lower frequency cycle of electricity.  

But, what is not available is redundancy, the ability to have back-up power on tap should a rain-emergency occur.  

Though, Ghassan Korban, Director of S&WB says the system has enough to respond, the need for those main pumps in times of a serious rainstorm are crucial to keeping water from backing up in the system and leaving flood water on the streets.  

The City of New Orleans has declared an emergency in hopes getting to the bottom of Number-Five's explosion and to get both turbines back in working order.  

According to the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate, turbine Number-Four escaped major damage in the explosion and should be able to get fixed and back on line quickly. 

But for now, it's anybody's guess when that will happen...  ...and rain is in the forecast.  

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