Power supply improves
PM urges residents to be patient

Guyana Chronicle
April 27, 2003

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PRIME MINISTER Samuel Hinds, on a visit to Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) yesterday, urged Berbicians to be patient with the Guyana Power and Light Company, as the utility service has been operating with less finance. But, he nevertheless expressed optimism that with collective effort performances will be improved.

The remarks were made at a press briefing at State House, New Amsterdam, where the Prime Minister up-dated members of the media on the electricity output in the Region.

Residents, particularly those on the Corentyne Coast, have over the past month been experiencing regular power outages and low voltages which they claimed have damaged their electrical appliances.

According to Senior GPL Divisional Manager, Kenneth Klass, on an earlier conducted tour of Canefield Power Plant, the number four Mirilees transformer was short-circuited.

This was because an adult rat was found in the generator.

He said the Berbice Interconnected system should be powered with the required 17.5 megawatts, but onverwagt has two general motor sets, one powers 2.2 megawatts while the other has mechanical problems.

In addition, two of the three generators in operation at cane-field have a deficit of 9 megawatts which was compounded by the 69 kv line that runs from New Amsterdam to number 53 village, Corentyne which was out of operation for a month

Further, he stated that the number three mirilees transformer which is also at canefield, has been inoperable for over eight months, and is in need of refurbishing at the cost of $US 700,000 or $G740M.

Klass explained that because of the prolonged dry season, the transmission set at number 19 village has a brownish color which represents salt and dust, and although installation washing is done, when checked on during the night, it is observed to have returned to its former state.

He said, despite these setbacks, the voltage in the Corentyne areas are good, but at nights when the demands are higher, the lines are powered with 3.9 megawatts which is impossible for the consumers to use, and, for Coriverton to be electrified, the power has to be stripped at various locations.

Nevertheless, he assured citizens that should the alternative cable link between number 53 village and Crabwood Creek be refurbished, the power supply would have been better on Friday night, and with a third caterpillar set placed at the number 53 sub-station by next Wednesday, electrification in the upper Corentyne areas will be improved.

The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by regional chairman Kumkarran Ramdass, Director of Guyana Power and Light Company, Mr. Navin Persaud and community development officer Faizal Jaffrally, also visited the number 53 power station on the Corentyne, Marda/Tarlogie and Corriverton civic center where they had a first hand look at the power operations and listened to views raised by citizens in connection with the power supply.

He, however stated GPL is cash strapped, and, in addition to a monthly fuel bill of $M500, it continues to experience 40% losses which is due to some consumers not being billed for amount utilised, meters are ancient and probably in error, while 50 - 70,000 record very low usage, and an additional 15% is contributed by technical loss.

Hinds, nevertheless, urged residents to conserve in the use of electricity although its price is below the midline in other Caribbean countries, and work assiduously for the development of our country.

The Prime Minister called on local companies with pension schemes to make an investment into the utility service as is done in other countries.

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