Port Kaituma without electricity for a month
Residents in Port Kaituma in the Matarkai sub-region in Region One are facing major economic woes following a month without electricity.
Fed-up of the situation, residents on Monday protested the Port Kaituma Power and Light Inc (PKPL) – the company that provides electricity to the community.
Regional Democratic Councillor Shem Cuffy told the News Room that the community has been without electricity for approximately four weeks now and this has since resulted in increased cost for transportation and fuel.
“We took the initiative of protesting, we would have gotten the full support of the Police to be on the ground and maintain order. We plan to continue this protest for a next five days,” Cuffy said.
The company falls under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Hinterland Power Company and has been providing electricity to the community since 2011.
It is reported that the generator at the power company is not functioning; the situation is also affecting the mortuary in the community and families are forced to spend thousands of dollars on ice to preserve the body of their loved ones.
“The generator has been down for the past four weeks approximately, added to that as it relates to health because the mortuary usually gets electricity from the Port Kaituma Power and Light.
“We are talking about $2000 to $5000 for a five-gallon bucket of ice,” Cuffy explained.
Because of the power outage, there has been a high demand for fuel which has caused the price to skyrocket and therefore the price for ice has also increased along with transportation cost.
Cuffy explained that the community gets its fuel supply from neighbouring Venezuela which would normally attract a $5000 tax per barrel.
“It will not be profitable to bring fuel from Georgetown,” he said.
He also explained that some problems at the border also contribute to the high price in fuel.
“Over the past weeks or so we have seen the price for fuel really skyrocket and that would have cause services such as transportation and so to go up.”
“This also caused a regular short drop in Port Kaituma to move from $1000 to $2000, with the buses, school children who would usually pay $100 for transportation are now paying double and more distant areas that would pay $500 now have to pay $1000,” Cuffy said.
Residents claimed that the power company is mum on when the generator will be fixed.
According to Cuffy, two weeks ago the company posted a notice stating that the community would have power, but to date, no power has been restored.
“Since we had the power outage nobody from the company thought it wise to like hold a community meeting and update persons on what’s going on,” he said.
Meanwhile, persons who have businesses have backup generators but are also faced with high fuel prices.
When contacted by the News Room, the company’s Manager Rodwell Lewis said is not authorized to comment on the issue.