Sunday’s power shutdown due to generation shortfall – GPL

Under increasing pressure over blackouts, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) yesterday said that Sunday’s total shutdown was due to a generation shortfall and it cited careless tree trimming and burnt jumpers as causes of other outages.

These revelations were made yesterday by acting Chief Executive Officer, Renford Homer in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI). When Stabroek News contacted GPL on Wednesday for answers on the blackouts no one was available. A statement promised on Wednesday also never materialized.

Homer told DPI that the shutdown of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) on Sunday, was as a result of a generation shortfall due to inadequate reserve power.

Homer, according to DPI,  explained that when the demand in the system was about 84 megawatts, there were 87 megawatts available for generation which left only three megawatts of reserve capacity instead of the normal 20 megawatts. In addition to this, the machines at Skeldon and Garden of Eden were being overhauled, whilst the one at Kingston was undergoing regular maintenance, DPI said.

Renford Homer

“The machine at Kingston developed a high exhaust temperature and that activated the generation protection which brought the machine offline. So we could call it a generator trip, because there was not much reserve and we could not unload the feed as quickly as we would’ve wanted to, to keep the system stable, Homer explained.”

Observers say that the lack of adequate reserve will raise concerns in the public about the situation at GPL and the management of generators since the company has access to sufficient generation.

DPI said that on Monday at approximately 3:15 pm, GPL received a report of a burnt jumper on one of their feeders to which the transmission and distribution crew quickly responded.

However, while attempting to close that feeder, DPI reported Homer as saying that the system sensed an “unusual surge of high current and the protection network was activated taking the generating system offline”. This resulted in insufficient generation to meet the demand at that time, Homer explained.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning at approximately 8:45 am, some customers on the DBIS suffered a disturbance when a number of feeders were lost due to a tree trimming exercise conducted by Atlantic Hotel Inc, the special purpose company set up for the Marriott Hotel, on Battery Road Kingston.

Homer said that the trimmed branches fell across GPL’s primary network causing a severe movement on two of the conductors which became intertwined. The generation at the Kingston plant went offline.

“However, it was not a total shutdown, we were able to offload a number of feeders and maintain some stability to the system. The two circuits that stayed out for a little bit would’ve been the F8 and the F9 feeders; parts of the F8 mainly”, he said.

The Acting CEO apologised for the inconvenience. He urged citizens to be careful when carrying out exercises close to GPL’s network since they can cause significant disruption and inconvenience.

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