New generators for Lethem should finally be in place early next year following which tariff increases will be considered.
During a visit to the Region Nine community located close to the border with Brazil on Saturday, Prime Minister Sam Hinds announced that the plans to purchase two new 750 Kva power generating sets, at a cost of $25M, each have been concluded and the sets should be
in Guyana by Christmas. The Government Information Agency (GINA) reported that Hinds, however, said that it will take some time and work before they can be transported to Lethem.
Lethem has suffered from chronic power problems over the past several years and previously, Hinds had told residents that the generators would be installed before the end of the year. The new generators along with the three currently in Lethem will be able to produce over two megawatts of power – way above the current consumption of half megawatt of electricity by the town, President of the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce (RCCI), Daniel Gajie had told Stabroek News in May.
GINA reported that the Prime Minister on Saturday pointed to the previous agreement made for a slight increase in tariffs and explained that the Board of Directors of the Lethem Power Company (LPC) has opted to hold this off until 2014. He observed that the Board was committed to the plans for a new power station, which will be sited on relatively high ground in the commercial/industrial area and will be constructed within a year. This decision was taken due to flooding in the community which often affects the present power station, according to the Prime Minister. He also said that the Chairman and the Board of Directors of the Company would give the steady attention which the LPC requires, GINA reported.
Speaking to residents, Hinds reflected on the partial supply of power to the community and pointed to the improvement that would come with the advent of the new plants. He noted that one resident had promised to contribute 15 bags of cement to assist in building the base for the new generators and urged other residents to respond similarly with whatever they could, pointing out that each contribution would help, GINA reported.
“We need assistance, but we must never lose sight that the primary job of building Guyana is for us to do,” he was quoted as saying.
GINA reported that Hinds also explained a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Brazil for the provision of electricity to the Roraima State and Manaus; the Lethem to Linden Road and the deep water harbour.
Residents raised several issues during the meeting including the question of maintenance of the new generators. Hinds explained that persons have already been selected to be trained to carry out such a function, GINA reported.
On the issue of the state of the Lethem to Linden road, he promised to raise the issue with Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn and urged residents to also write to him to make their concerns known. While in the Region, Hinds also visited and inspected the newly rehabilitated Moco Moco Bridge. In May, the structure had collapsed under the weight of a heavy-duty truck. The bridge, is a critical link between St Ignatius and Lethem.