Easter weekend marred by blackouts

The Guyana Power and Light is yet to release any information on why the Easter weekend was plagued by constant low voltage and blackouts on the East Coast Demerara, Georgetown and the East Bank.

It is unclear whether kite flying was responsible for the many outages.

GPL’s public relations officer, Shevion Sears-Murray, yesterday stated that she would be unable to comment on the cause because she would need to speak with CEO, Bharrat Dindyal before releasing any information.

Residents along the coast were frustrated for most of Friday evening when they experienced low voltage which eventually ended in a blackout which lasted almost four hours in areas such as Cummings Lodge and Industry. On Saturday morning blackouts persisted on and off from 10:00hrs to 14:00hrs, according to residents.

Within Georgetown, affected wards included Lacytown, Cummingsburg and Alberttown which up to Monday saw residents and businesses reporting low voltage and blackouts. Along the East Bank, residents at Diamond and Providence reported frequent low voltage and blackouts over the weekend.

Residents recalled that GPL has annually had issues with supplying consistent power during the long Easter weekend.

Critics have noted that GPL is well aware that this time of the year means more electricity use and as a result provisions needed to be made to ensure that extra resources are available to troubleshoot problems.

GPL was allocated over $4.35 billion in the 2014 budget. Of that figure, $3.85 billion is to go directly into capital expenditure. While the opposition did not cut the power company’s subsidy this year, in 2013 the opposition voted down over half of the $10 billion subsidy of $5.2 billion. In 2012 the opposition cut GPL’s $6 billion subvention by $1 billion.

Last year the government moved a motion to have the $5.2 billion restored. Immediately following the budget cut in 2013, GPL was accused by critics of fear mongering when blackouts and low voltage was experienced across the country.

In 2013 the power company blamed a spate of blackouts on kites being entangled in the networks. This was also cited as a major reason for disruptions in 2011 and 2010 during the Easter season.

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