Director of the Port Kaituma Power Company Richard Allen says a new generator that became operational last month is too small to supply the entire community with electricity during peak hours while the larger ones remain dysfunctional.
Allen told Stabroek News that previously the power company operated on two generators—a 625KVA with an output capacity of 500 kilowatt hour (Kwh) and a 438KVA with and an output of 354 Kwh.
He added that the new generator supplied to the power company is 437 KVA and has an output capacity of 350 Kwh. He argued that the new generator does not have the capacity to supply the Port Kaituma community during peak hours and further stated that residents of Port Kaituma receive electricity from 6pm to 4am and 9am to 2pm daily. He said the new generator can be operated at a maximum output of 320 Kwh before is automatically shuts off in approximately an hour.
However, Horace Williams, Head of the Hinterland Electrification Unit attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, defined the peak hours of electricity consumption to be between the time periods mentioned by Allen. Williams admitted that the new generator cannot supply the community with electricity during peak hours and stated that the larger generator previously utilised by the community will be used during peak time.
However, Allen said the two older generators are not in working order because of damaged parts due to contaminated fuel used by the power company.
But contrary to what Allen said, Williams explained that the larger generator can be used though there may be a few glitches during its performance. He added that the fact the community received electricity during the time period mentioned by Allen, was evidence that the larger generator was working to supply electricity to the community during peak times.
Williams said the idea is to match the demand for electricity with the generation power. He added that having various sizes of generators to be utilized during peak and off peak times is economically feasible, especially for a small power station such as the one at Port Kaituma.
In small power stations, Williams explained, the fuel cost accounts for over 80% of expenditures, thus running larger generators during peak time and smaller generators during off peak will ensure fuel usage is fully optimised.
He said, however, the Office of the Prime Minister and officials at the Power Station are working on synchronizing the three generators to ensure more efficiency, which is expected to be completed with the next two weeks.
He said getting a smaller generator was not a mistake but rather it was deliberately done to ensure the long term operational efficiency of power supply to residents of Port Kaituma when the new generator is synchronized with the others, after the older generators have been repaired.
Allen also raised the issue of fuel contamination. He said he strongly believes that a fuel purification system should have been put in place prior to installing a new fuel system. He said the two older generators went bad because of contaminated fuel supply. Prime Minister Samuel Hinds agreed with this statement when he spoke with Stabroek News via phone on Saturday.
However, Williams said they are also working on installing a purification system at the Power Company to work along with the present settling tank. He said at present they are working on getting quotations from overseas suppliers for the purification system and he expects the system to be up and running in approximately three months.