Bartica grapples with power outages

Bartica last evening got back power after being hit by outages since midday Sunday and residents say the situation is becoming unbearable as they face huge losses in meat and other perishables.

There was no prior warning of the blackouts, according to residents, who yesterday described the situation as unfair and unprofessional. GPL last evening said normal power has been restored.

A shift system had been put in place and officials from MACORP had been working to correct the problem by today, Guyana Power and Light Co. (GPL) public relations officer Shevon Sears-Marcus said yesterday afternoon, when contacted. She later said that the work had been completed last evening.

She explained earlier yesterday afternoon that two machines at the Bartica Power Station were not working and as a result an alternative power system had been put in place.

Sears-Marcus had told Stabroek News that GPL was trying to give residents power in four-hour shifts but she was not certain whether this was occurring.

Responding to allegations that there was no prior warning about the outages, Sears-Marcus said notices were televised in Bartica.

From all indications, the Bartica Hospital has not been affected by the outages, since it has its own generator.

Speaking by telephone, Ninth Street resident Sandra Griffith said that she was told that the engine had broken down at the power station and that there is another one that has to supply power to the community.

She said that as a result of this situation, the power is being distributed in four-hour shifts. According to Griffith, the arrangement is inadequate. She noted that many residents were forced to throw away meat that had begun to spoil. She was forced to cook all of hers.

Griffith further said that the shift system was only put in place on Monday. “This here is terrible. I can’t even think clearly,” she said pointing out that residents have to be very alert.

She explained that because of the power situation, one cannot leave their appliances on.

As she was speaking, she said that she was in blackout and she did not know when power would return.

Meanwhile businessman Winston Miller Snr said that he lost about $400,000, in meat, fish and ice-cream as a result of the situation and he questioned who was going to compensate him for his losses.

Miller, who lives at First Street, said that the power went off without warning and officials were unable to answer his questions when he initially visited the GPL location. Yesterday, during another visit, he said he was told that there was a problem with two “outdated” engines and there was a difficulty locating the parts to repair them.

According to him, he has been getting a power supply for about an hour before it cuts off. He stressed that far off areas such as Potaro and the housing schemes are not getting any power. “It was very unprofessional how they do this thing man. Nobody ain’t come and tell we nothing… Look how many business people losing money!” he added.

Miller also expressed disappointment that the elected Members of Parliament from the region have neglected Bartica. “No one is representing us up here,” he said. “These engines are rejected engines and they come and just dump them up here,” he added.

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