Most sites with CHP packages do not have the resources to carry out servicing and maintenance of the unit. A contract with the equipment supplier or one of the specialist O&M CHP companies is, therefore, often considered to be an effective way of providing the necessary maintenance support that will ensure the long-term reliability and performance of the plant.
Consideration should always be given to the availability of a suitable long-term maintenance contract when selecting a CHP package. The best time to negotiate a long-term maintenance contract is at the time of purchase. When the unit is old, the contractors will be less willing to take on an unfamiliar unit. Various levels of maintenance agreement may be available, but the choice of service must be considered in conjunction with the degree of responsibility that comes with the contract. Typical options could include the following:
- Planned maintenance only, whereby the supplier carries out only a predefined list of maintenance tasks to a predetermined time schedule. This would include all labour costs, and may include or exclude the cost of providing replacement parts and materials.
- Remote monitoring of plant parameters to provide a diagnosis of plant condition.
- Call-outs to unplanned outages or breakdowns within a specified time period.
- Comprehensive maintenance cover, to include all parts and labour costs associated with both planned and unplanned maintenance requirements.
- Availability and installation of exchange or replacement unit to cover periods of prolonged outage associated with failure or servicing requirements.
The actual range of options available will vary from one manufacturer to another, and can be varied according to the levels of on-site staffing and expertise available.
Where a comprehensive service and warranty package is available that covers all the maintenance needed to achieve a defined level of plant performance and availability, it should provide some assurances regarding the availability of both service response and the necessary replacement parts and components. The costs of such a package should be expressed in simple terms, such as total cost per unit of output or cost per hour of running time. These figures are an important component of the costs and savings analysis.
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