An acceptable level of electricity generation will be restored in Lethem by mid-December

Dear Editor,

The Lethem Power Company Inc has put in place plans to restore an acceptable level of generation by mid-December 2012, and to provide a reasonable safety margin by the end of May 2013.

A contract has been awarded in the last few days, after selective tendering, under which an engine for a 750 kVa FG Wilson genset would be sourced in Florida, USA, and flown to Guyana, while the 750 kVa unit would be back in operation by December 14, 2012.  Even before that, the exciter for the FG Wilson 625 kVa unit which failed two Mondays ago, on November 12, has been repaired in Georgetown, and is to be flown back to Lethem, today, November 20.  It is expected to be back in service within the next 48 hours.

With further help from the Government, through PU/NICIL, tenders have been invited for the provision of an additional two, each being about 750 kVa, gensets.  These are expected to be available in Lethem, early in the second quarter of 2013.

LMPCI extends regrets to the people of Lethem, and begs for their patience until the FG Wilson 625 kVa and 750kVa units have been restored.  Until then, LMPCI has had to resort to the Caterpillar 350 kVa set from the earlier “lights at night” mandate.

The network has been arranged in roughly three equal parts, and for the time being (since November 12), each part is provided five hours of power in every 16-hour period.  With the return of the 625 kVa FG Wilson in a day or two, the residents of Lethem should be receiving power for about 20 hours each day, and with the return of the FG Wilson 750 kVa genset by December 14, power should be available again to all customers, 24 hours per day.

LMPCI wants to assure residents of Lethem that this period of difficulty did not result from lack of attention but rather from a series of unexpected, untimely failures of gensets and from a preoccupation with the obtaining of fuel and maintaining operations during the period of the Linden unrest.  Also, in all the areas where these new, small grids have been established, there is a wide variety of views on projections of growth in demand, as well as the actuality, and how these should be met.  Additionally, there are differences on how ongoing and new costs are to be met, and there is need for much learning with respect to operations and the maintenance of gensets and networks.  It has, thus, been taking much time to get to sufficient common understanding and to arrive at decisions that are sufficiently supported.

When the engine of the FGW 750 kVa unit failed in April, there was adequate generation available.  The focus was placed on (i) determining whether the engine should be repaired or replaced; and (ii) the allowable, continuous operational rating.  Subsequently, the portable Caterpillar 1.5 MW set which GPL loaned to Lethem for the opening of the Takutu Bridge in 2009, failed on August 25.

By the time that the exciter on the FGW 625 kVa failed two Mondays ago, on November 12, the crisis situation was recognized and the decision was taken to have the engine for the FGW 750 kVa genset flown in.  (The failed engine would be retained for its ‘spares’ value.)

Yours faithfully,
Christopher Moses
Chairman of the Board

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