Blackouts to worsen before things get better – GPL

…but new station to end power cuts

The current spate of blackouts will get worse before it gets better as the power company continues to be in a tight position between now and early next month when it expects its new Kingston station to come on line.

Guyana Power and Light Chairman Winston Brassington gave this assessment to the media yesterday following another tour of the Kingston power plant. The company continues to lean on its old 44 MW Kingston station while another of its machines is scheduled to return to operation next week after being out since January for servicing and repairs.

Reporters were taken around the station and given a detailed explanation of the intricacies of the plant which is to undergo testing in the first week in November and then connected to the power grid. Close to 20 persons have already been trained to run the station which is fully automated.

It is expected to contribute more than 20% of the power for Demerara and once up and running it will bring an end to the blackouts, Brassington said.

“But in the interim we continue to be in a tight position because we have to do load shedding. So the situation is about to get a little worse before it actually gets better,” he told reporters.

Outlining reasons for the power outages, he explained that the company is depending on a 44-megawatt station that is limited since it is very old.

He further explained that in order to accommodate the new plant, the network has to be re-engineered. Currently, power generation comes from the Garden of Eden plant and from Kingston in equal amounts, but the new system would facilitate a greater supply from Kingston.

With the increase in demand too he said the new plant was extremely necessary. He pointed out that more pressure is being placed on the system and with the development of more housing schemes and the more than 40,000 homes to be powered the company is forced to make the investments.

However, he said the company stands on its own with whatever tariffs it receives since the concessions it received from government when the price of oil plummeted have been removed.

He noted that assistance is still given for capital projects which include repairs and upgrades to the transmission network from Georgetown to Parika which would help to boost the system’s reliability.

Meanwhile in terms of looking at sources of new power, Brassington explained that the transmission lines from Skeldon to Number 53 village do not have the ability to take all the power between the two areas. So currently a project is ongoing to have the appropriate lines established between Skeldon and Number 53 village and this is scheduled for completion this month.

An upgrade is also ongoing at the Canefield power station in Berbice which will facilitate the use of heavy fuel oil instead of diesel in engines which should trickle down to less fuel expenses for the company.

In the meantime, the company does not expect rates to increase once all remains constant in the price of fuel.

Conversely, on whether consumers could see a reduction in rates, Brassington could make no commitment but noted that once the company is able to save on fuel expenses it may be able to pass this on.

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