I am disappointed but not surprised that the Regional Chairman of Region Two omitted to inform your publication of my response to him, less than an hour after he contacted me via email. Additionally, your publication did not seek to have a comment from my ministry or GPL before printing the article, which to my understanding would have been the standard practice (‘Essequibo residents fume over daily blackouts’ SN, July 12).
Should you have sought our explanation on the current status of the Region Two electricity situation we would have informed you of the following:-
- That I offered the Chairman my unreserved apologies for the current state of power generation in the county; I also instructed GPL to immediately ensure that public notice is provided on any load-shedding activities (as requested by the Regional Chairman).
- This county is plagued by poorly functioning generators which are approaching the end of their useful operational life; however, notwithstanding that fact, technicians are working around the clock to restore full functionality by this weekend.
- That GPL has already procured new units for Anna Regina as announced in my 2017 budget presentation, and as mentioned in my email to the Regional Chairman, these units will be on site late September/early October 2017. Please note that GPL would have procured 3 units of 1.8MW capacity each; the total new generating capacity will be 5.4MW (the current peak demand for Essequibo Coast is 4.7MW).
- The infrastructure works mentioned in my email to the Regional Chairman would be the construction of new foundations for the new units, the installation of new switchgear and other electrics to enable the new units to be connected to the grid.
I trust that you will make known these small facts to your readership: a) The Regional Chairman was in possession of additional information which for his own reasons he decided not to share with your publication; and b) that my ministry acknowledges the current undesirable conditions in Essequibo and has put systems in place to resolve these issues.
David A Patterson, MP
Minister of Public Infrastructure