96 hours of ‘blackout’ recorded in 2022 – GPL

With the Government working aggressively to upgrade Guyana’s aging electricity network, which has been blamed for the frequency of power outages, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc has reported that its thousands of customers experienced an average of 96 hours of power interruption in 2022, a 10 per cent reduction from the amount experienced in the previous year.
This is according to GPL’s Divisional Director (Power Generation and Distribution) Bharat Harjohn, who appeared before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Wednesday for a review of GPL’s 2022 Operating Standards and Performance Targets (OSPT).
Harjohn divulged that a number of factors cause the frequency and duration of outages, including plant maintenance, emergency outages, transmission and feeder line trips, switching activities on the network to allow for maintenance or isolation of a fault, generation shortfall, and generation trips.
“When we compare 2022 to 2021, we are seeing that there is an improvement in plant maintenance…it is related to the duration of the outages. There was also a reduction in emergency repair work…there is a reduction in feeder trips. Generation trips, there was an increase in 2022,” Harjohn told PUC members, including PUC Chairman Dela Britton.
Harjohn disclosed that GPL is working to address the liability of electricity by using concrete poles.
“We are now trying to move away from the wooden structures; we are introducing concrete
structures, tubing steel poles and fibreglass poles. We are intensifying our maintenance activity, which is going to be a continuous process. We are trying to reduce the time allotted for maintenance, and by doing so, we are going to increase the number of teams doing maintenance in the area,” he explained.
Apart from these disclosures, he noted that GPL would continue to use drone technology, which has been a tremendous benefit. By using drones, Harjohn explained, “We have been able to scan the network to pick up any incumbencies, and also to identify network defects. These drones are equipped with infrared cameras, and they can pick up things the individual eyes cannot, and (they are) also able to look at the network from the top.”
In addition, he said, GPL is reviewing its protection coordination in order to isolate issues, instead of having them go all the way back to the source breaker.
This, he noted, would cause fewer interruptions to consumers.
Government has embarked on a host of endeavours to upgrade the country’s energy grid, and the gas-to-energy project at Wales, West Bank Demerara is one such endeavour. Also, Government is seeking proposals for installing transmission lines and substations for the 300-megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas turbine power plant.
Additionally, new distribution lines and feeders; a new 69 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Kingston to Sophia, and from Edinburgh to Hydronie; new and rehabilitated substations at Hydronie, Sophia, Columbia, Canefield and #53 Village; and the replacement of 320 inefficient transformers are projects that are expected to come on stream by the end of this year. (G1)