Govt in the dark over spate of power outages

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Almost one week after another spate of blackouts gripped the nation, Government has said it is yet to be given by the Guyana Power and light (GPL) official reason for the blackouts.

While the power company has made a public statement on the matter, it has not yet officially briefed Government. That is according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who said on Friday that Government has relied on the statement made by the power company on Thursday.

“I don’t have a particular statement on the matter. It did not come up at Cabinet, but I’ve read — just like you — in the public media that Mr Badal had made some statements that they were taking steps to make the electricity supply more reliable,” Harmon told the media at a post-Cabinet press conference.

On Thursday, after much outcry from citizens (GPL), said “a botched tree trimming exercise and a burnt jumper” were among the reasons for the electricity woes.

GPL’s Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Renford Homer, also explained that shutdown of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) on Sunday resulted from a generation shortfall occasioned by reduced generation reserve.

Homer explained that when the demand was about 84 megawatts, there were 87 megawatts available for generation, which left only three megawatts of reserve capacity, instead of the normal 20 megawatts. Moreover, the machines at Skeldon and Garden of Eden were being overhauled, whilst the one at Kingston was undergoing routine maintenance.

On Monday, at approximately 15:15h, GPL received a report of a burnt jumper on one of its feeders, and the transmission distribution crew quickly responded. However, while attempting to close that feeder, the system sensed an unusual surge of high current and the protection network was activated, taking the generating system offline. However, sufficient generation was available to meet the demand at that time, Homer explained.

At approximately 08:45h on Wednesday, some customers on the DBIS experienced a disturbance when a number of feeders were lost due to a tree-trimming exercise being conducted by Atlantic Hotel Incorporated on Battery Road, Kingston.

Homer pointed out that the trimmed branches fell across GPL’s primary network, causing a severe movement on two of the conductors which became intertwined. The generation at Kingston plant went offline.