This city's new $3 million hydroelectric system, scheduled to be in full operation by early October, has encountered a major delay that will prevent the facility from going completely on line for several months.

That's because the turbine in the "upper" plant, three miles up Manti Canyon, sustained substantial damage when a bucket flew off its fasteners and crashed into the turbine.The turbine has now been shipped back to the Yugoslavia factory for repairs or replacement forcing the new upper plant to shut down.

"We were not trying to contribute to our country's trade deficit by ordering the equipment from a Yugoslavian factory," joked Manti Mayor May Peterson.

"It was specially designed equipment which the contractor, Oscar Royce Co., ordered from a U.S. firm," he said. "That company went into receivership and it was decided to go to the other available source - in Yugoslavia."

The upper plant will operate on culinary water and will generate around 1,000 kilowatt-hours.

Meanwhile, the "lower" plant, in the mouth of Manti Canyon, is nearing completion. It will operate on irrigation water brought out of the canyon about two miles above the plant and conveyed down the canyon to the penstock in a 30-inch pipeline now being installed. It is being built by Hamilton Bros. and will also have a 1,000 kwh generating capacity.

Until the new system is fully operational, a refurbished facility in the canyon capable of producing 200 kwh will remain in service. Once both new facilities are on line, the old plant will be put on standby.

The 2,000 kwh the new system will produce will meet around two-thirds of the city's electrical needs, Peterson said. The rest will be provided by the Utah Municipal Power Association.