More power outages promised by GPL

…as 772 outages recorded between June to August 2019

A series of power outages have plagued thousands of residents living along the coast in the past few months and as the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) continues to rectify the situation, there will inevitably be more blackouts.

Chairman of the Board of Directors at Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Rawle Lucas

Although GPL has cited a major shortfall of 23 megawatts of power which contributed to several power failures in the country as of recent, coupled with other issues, the public should expect more power outages even as the utility company works on addressing the current challenges.
This is according to the Chairman of the GPL’s Board of Directors, Rawle Lucas, who explained the situation to stakeholders on Friday.
“…the need to perform continued scheduled maintenance on our generating systems will result in the continued unavailability of at least another 18 megawatts for a further period of time. I wish to acknowledge that GPL’s management is not proud of the situation in which its customers find themselves and is committed to rectifying and improving the situation very quickly.”
Lucas stated that the challenge for GPL is in the integrated network known as the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) which ranges from West Demerara to Moleson Creek in Berbice and reaches south as far as Kuru Kururu, Linden-Soesdyke Highway and Timehri on the East Bank of Demerara.
“We are gathering here at a time when GPL appears to the onlooker that is unable to manage this system to the level of reliability that our customers expect and deserve. In response to recent enquiries from the Board, GPL management has reported that there were 772 outages of varying duration from June 1 to August 31, 2019. Over a 92-day period that amounts to an outage occurring 8 times per day.”
According to Lucas, the data reveals that GPL’s customers from Charlestown to Timehri have been suffering the most. They experienced 32 per cent of that outage period while other areas experienced electricity woes also.
“The customers on the East Coast have suffered 23 per cent of the outages while the customers in the West Demerara area have suffered 21 per cent of the outages. The GPL customers in Berbice experienced 17 per cent of the outages. Reporting this information is not comforting since the inconveniences remain as I speak.”

23 MW shortfall
Last week, GPL announced that it had suffered a deficit of 23 megawatts of power, due to a number of reasons. As such, thousands of residents and businesses in the Demerara and Berbice region will experience another round of periodic power outage.
The company cited a series of “unforeseen occurrences and generation/operational issues” that are preventing the supply of adequate electricity for “peak demand”.
Among the reasons is the uprooting of a pole with two transformers in the vicinity of the Rubis Gas Station on Mandela Avenue while a contractor was carrying out works on the Sheriff/Mandela street expansion project on September 3.
In Berbice, GPL explained that it is unable to export 6.9 megawatts of power to the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) due to a defective transformer at its Onverwagt, Berbice Substation.
Additionally, a 5.5-megawatt generator at the Canefield Power Plant is unavailable because of scheduled maintenance. At the Kingston Power Plant, a 6.9-megawatt unit is unavailable due to a defective alternator, which had to be sourced overseas.
GPL, at that time, had said that the new alternator has arrived and repairs are expected to be completed by the end of the week. Thereafter, the unit was expected to return to operation by Monday, September 9, 2019.
At the Garden of Eden power station, a 4-megawatt unit is also unavailable. GPL said it is awaiting the arrival of replacement parts for the defective components.

Load shedding
Just a few months ago, thousands of persons were majorly inconvenienced by the constant power outages and load shedding after two submarine cables were damaged within the space of five days.
This issue resulted in GPL publishing daily load shedding schedules, which saw several areas across the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System experiencing complete power outages for long hours.
This will likely be the system again until the power company can restore its electricity shortfall. GPL normally posts its load shedding schedules on its Facebook page.