The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is in the process of procuring a 1.7-megawatt generating set for Bartica, Region Seven which has suffered lengthy power outages after its three generators malfunctioned.
“There are plans for Bartica and this is ahead of the plans for green energy and what we expect to do for Bartica. We will have a brand new 1.7 megawatts set installed. We are currently in that procurement process. What that would do is bring some level of generation stability to Bartica,” Acting GPL CEO Renford Homer told GINA yesterday.
Touching on the Bartica power problems, Homer said, “One engine we have a radiator issue, on the second engine we have an issue with pistons and on the third engine we have (a) suspected cylinder issue.”
He noted that corrective works have already begun to the generators to remedy the frequent power outages.
Homer said that extensive maintenance work is required to get the 15-year-old Caterpillar sets up and running until Bartica can switch to green energy.
Residents of Bartica are furious over the prolonged power outages. On Wednesday, the utility company announced in a press statement that Bartica was set for a 31-hour outage to facilitate repairs. However, when Stabroek News spoke with residents it was explained that the town only suffered a twelve-hour disruption yesterday. Residents said that power returned shortly after 6 pm but they were uncertain if there would have been any other power outages. They said that no notice was given to them by the power company.
Nicole Allicock, a resident of the Old Housing Scheme told this newspaper, “we can’t take this no more it is overbearing. People need electricity it has become a part of our lives and when there is blackout it is uncomfortable.”
Meanwhile Ms. Bob of Carabese Hill, said she has to keep a stock of candles and oil her in lamp because “you never know when the current would go off.” The woman said that her granddaughter is preparing for the CSEC exams in May and would often need to use her computer to finish school work but because of the power outages she is unable to do so. Like other residents she called on the government to provide a better service to Barticians.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Bartica, Gifford Marshall, said the “Municipality feels the pain and understands the frustration of the residents. It’s something we all share and it is of grave concern for all of us.”
It is important to note that as long as the old generators continue working Bartica will have problems, Marshall said. He went on to say that the permanent fix for the power outages is replacing the generators and going after clean and cheap energy.
“Residents are very frustrated and angry and we need a permanent fix. Now is the time for all of us to brace the wheels and get it fixed. We have been experiencing this for a number of years”, he added.
He said when “we received the call that GPL will proceed with this maintenance and plunge us into darkness for at least four days, it tore us apart and stressed us out.” Marshall said that persons have been trying to make the power outage a political issue.
“Now is not the time to be pointing fingers and not time to be blaming the town council, people need to understand GPL is a company and must be held accountable, but because it’s a government company we can work with central government to instruct the company to assist Bartica,” he said.
“Families are having restless nights, even myself, I have to come out at 2am because of the heat and plus its dry season,” Marshall added.
He lamented that because of the power disruptions “Services and business continue to lose millions of dollars, happening at a time when the economy is not at its best.”
In Georgetown yesterday there was no reported power disruption however, on the Corentyne residents suffered more than five hours of power outages.
GPL had said that power outages are the result of faults along the 69kv transmission line linking the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System.