Damaged main switch at GPL station leaves Bartica in the dark

-power outages began three weeks ago, residents say

A damaged main switch of a generating unit that experienced problems on Monday caused the recent power outages in Bartica, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Divisional Director of Operations Elwyn Marshall says.

Residents have complained of power outages for the past three weeks and expressed disgust at the situation. A frustrated Judith David-Blair told Stabroek News that parts of Bartica were without power since 6am on Monday until approximately 5pm on Tuesday. “My computer and my television spoil,” the woman lamented. She said that Bartica has been suffering from frequent blackouts for about three weeks now.

The former PNCR parliamentarian recounted that she contacted GPL’s commercial office at Bartica only to be informed that the workers there were overwhelmed by the situation. David-Blair said that she then contacted the office of GPL’s CEO Bharat Dindyal, only to be met with rudeness from his secretary. “She put down the phone on me,” she said while adding that the woman adamantly dismissed the severity of her claims. “There is an issue,” the frustrated resident declared.

When contacted, Marshall told Stabroek News that it was only yesterday that GPL officials in Georgetown were informed of the problems with the main switch on one of the generating units in Bartica. He said that the problems began on Monday. According to the official, the switch “tripped out two times last night [Monday night]” and the unit had to be left off for the remainder of the evening.

Marshall said that technicians from Georgetown were deployed to Bartica to check on the units. He said that the other generator will be used until the one with the faulty main switch could be fixed. “We are trying to source a replacement switch,” he said, adding that the repairs should be completed by Thursday if the part is sourced.

An irate David-Blair refuted Marshall’s claim that GPL only learnt about the Bartica power situation on Monday. She said that from July 16 to July 18, the entire community was without electricity. According to the resident, Bartica has been having electricity problems for at least four years. “Ever since they replaced the Blackstone engine, Bartica has been getting frequent blackouts,” she added.

“Bartica is expanding,” David-Blair pointed out. “GPL needs to expand.” According to her, people are building and extending homes and there is a need for increased electricity in the community. She pointed out too that scores of children are home for the July/August holiday.

A few days ago, a letter by Micah Williams, General President of the Bartica United Youth Development Group called on GPL (Bartica Branch) to purchase new generators to supply residents with 24 hours of electricity.

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