Power outages linked to transmission woes, GPL says

The spate of blackouts around the country yesterday was due to a fallen suspension insulator on a 69Kv transmission line in Sophia, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) has said.

According to a press release from the power company, the fallen suspension insulator resulted in fault conditions on three transmission lines, which caused interruptions both in Demerara and Berbice.

The release added that efforts to restore power started around 9 am and “all affected customers” were repowered three hours later at 12 pm, with the exception of the Lamaha Gardens and Sophia to Success areas.

“The extended delay was due to remedial work on the structure bearing the damaged line hardware, which concluded around 1 pm. The residual customers were repowered at 1.30 pm,” the statement said. It added that GPL regretted any inconvenience caused by the disruption and wanted to assure customers that significant resources were being directed toward addressing the vulnerability of the transmission network with respect to faults of a similar nature.

However, despite the company’s continued efforts to upgrade and maintain its network, citizens are still faced with constant blackouts. Over the past month there has been a series of blackouts, lasting for hours.

While it had been thought by some that Power Producers and Distributors Inc (PPDI), which took over managing generators from Wartsila earlier this year was contributing to the high incidence of blackouts, General Manager Arron Fraser told Stabroek News yesterday that PPDI was producing enough electricity for the country’s demands.

He explained that while two engines were down for maintenance, a capacity of 93MW was still available, while the peak demand is around 89MW. He went on to explain that it was not a capacity issue but a distribution and transmission one, which was later confirmed by GPL.

Meanwhile, residents around the country related to Stabroek News yesterday that they were completely fed up of the continuous subpar services that are being offered by the company.

Jason Holder, a resident of Alexander Village, said, “This is just ridiculous at this point in time. I got blackout this morning while I was trying to iron my clothes to go to work. I was not able to start ironing them because of how sudden the blackout came and what happened? I had to go to work looking like a mess,” adding that he is “totally fed up of GPL.”

“There are no words to describe them at this moment. People just fed up, fed up with what’s going on. Almost every week is some blackout and they always talking about doing this maintenance and that maintenance and nothing seems to be changing. It seems like they just getting worse by the day,” another resident complained.

The man added that sometimes the area would have low and high voltage, which is a threat to his electronics. “You have to worry about them things too cause is nah like they does tell you when you gon get blackout so you could plug out everything. It does just come sudden and unexpected. What if you ain’t even home when it come and you can’t disconnect your stuff and something blow up in the house?” he questioned, adding that such a situation could lead to more serious complications such as fires.

He said that one of his relatives was in such a situation once: there was blackout and when the area was repowered an electronic item exploded.

Over the past seven months, the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) has experienced several shutdowns. And despite scheduled maintenance being carried out throughout the country, which sees sections of the country being without power for more than six hours at a time, the problems persist.

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