Power Company blames GPL for blackouts

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By Devina Samaroo

The frequent power outages across the country are not as a result of faults in power generation aspect of the process which occurs at the various power plants, but defects in the transmission of the electricity from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) base in Sophia.

This is according to the management of the Power Producers and Distributors Incorporated (PPDI) – the newly established State – owned company that replaced Wartsila’s management of four power plants in Guyana.

PPDI is responsible for the maintenance of equipment that generates electricity; GPL would then purchase this electricity and then distribute it to consumers across the country.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of PPDI, Mark Bender explained to media operatives during a tour of the facility on Thursday that the blackouts are often caused as a result of issues relating to the transmission of electricity – which is a process managed by GPL.

PPDI Chief Executive Officer, Arron Fraser

Bender emphasised that while GPL and PPDI are working together with one main goal – to supply reliable electricity – its roles in the process are different.

“The engines are owned by GPL … and any questions with regard to the distribution of electricity, that’s GPL,” Bender said.

Chief Executive Officer, Arron Fraser also said the PPDI did not experience any hiccups in its generation of electricity since the commencement of the year even though two engines are currently out for maintenance.

He explained that there are 11 instances of maintenance throughout the year to ensure the equipment are functional. Recently, the entire West Bank of Demerara was out of electricity but PPDI said it was not as a result of a problem on their end but rather GPL.

Though the GPL press release said a fire at the power plant was the reason for the outage, the PPDI CEO said such a terminology was misleading as there were no issues at the Vreed En Hoop plant.

“When we met with them, we told them that they might not have been very clear because when people hear that it is at the power plant, they might think it’s here but it was in the substation room,” he explained.

Electricity is purchased at US$16.87 per megawatt hour.

The Chairman said its annual revenue is roughly US$10M and it hopes to make at least 20% profit every year. PPDI manages four power plants across the country including that at Vreed En Hoop which was commissioned in 2014, the one at Garden of Eden which was commissioned in 1994 and the two at Kingston.

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