Essequibo to brace for load shedding until Christmas  

While power has been restored on the Essequibo Coast, residents will have to brace themselves for several months of load shedding, as the authorities accelerate the conversion from a 50 cycle to a 60 cycle, which new generating capacity should be installed by Christmas.
The announcement was made on Thursday by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, responding to People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Dharamkumar Seeraj, whose official queries on the state of the electricity system on the Essequibo Coast following several weeks of massive outages.
Minister Patterson told Members of the National Assembly that the gasket of the 25-year-old Wartsila generating set at Anna Regina was the source of the problem. He said this has since been repaired by the genset, but continues to be besieged by age-related problems.
According to the Minister, Government has ordered three 1.8MW plants and their components are currently en-route to Guyana.
He explained that Government expects the new generating plants to be fully installed by Christmas, by which time the company would be looking to complete the conversion of the grid. This conversion activity, he told the House, will lead to load shedding up until its completion.
Seeraj, who was at the time utilising the opening provisions for questions to a Minister, questioned what measures were being taken by Government to restore the electricity to the Essequibo Coast, while pointing out that residents of Region Two were “punishing for five weeks”, with little or no electricity.
“How soon will residents see a return to stable and reliable electricity supply?” Seeraj questioned.
Patterson quickly quipped that power had been restored, and pointed to what he called a matter of public record. “We have procured three brand new sets for Anna Regina,” he declared.
The generating sets and their associated components for installation are due to arrive in Guyana in October, he said.
Responding to supplementary queries by Seeraj, the Minister assured that the process was transparent and fully tendered publicly, with bids evaluated and an order placed.
He reminded that the intention to have the generating sets purchased for Essequibo was announced during his Budget presentation for 2016.
PPP/C Member of Parliament Cornel Damon attempted to query if any compensation would be given to those persons who had lost perishables as a result of the prolonged blackouts, but was quickly shut down by Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland.
Dr Scotland insisted the substantive question did not centre on compensation.
Damon also suggested to Minister Patterson that, according to information supplied to him, the blackouts could have been avoided. He questioned whether it was a case of sabotage – a notion quickly dismissed by Minister Patterson, who suggested that any such information in Damon’s possession should be turned over to the Minister of Public Security “forthwith”
“As far as I am aware, there was no sabotage, the Wartsila set blew a gasket. We had to put in new bearings..all sorts of problem due to the age of the equipment.”