GPL generating enough electricity but transmission setbacks could cause blackouts
With the usual increase in demand for electricity during the Christmas holidays, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. is assuring its customers that there is enough electricity being generated.
In fact, GPL says it has over 45 megawatts of power in reserve and it will require no backup generating sets this season. But that’s no sure guarantee that citizens will not experience power outages as setbacks to the transmissions line could cause a shutdown.
GPL’s management promises that all systems are in place to minimise these occurrences and wants the support of the public to help prevent shutdowns caused frequently by road accidents.
The assurance was bolstered by the Divisional Director of Operations, Bharat Harjohn who talked up the company’s generating capacity.
“We have enough generation capacity for the season across the country,” he said, guaranteeing that maintenance to generating units and the transmission and distribution network was also on schedule.
All planned maintenance will be completed by December 15 and will continue in the new year but in the interim, the company said only emergency maintenance will be conducted.
“Each component of our generation and distribution operations is healthy for the holiday season,” Harjohn told a press conference on Wednesday.
Harjohn said vegetation has been addressed and new components, such as feeders, have been installed and commissioned. Harjohn said the reserve power is located at the upgraded Garden of Eden plant along the East Bank of Demerara.
“Most of that power [at Garden of Eden] has to find itself back to Georgetown to our control center and then move up east. So, if our transmission lines fail when bringing that power for distribution, we will have a challenge,” he explained.
He said the system can be unstable based on unforeseen circumstances.
Addressing the chances of power outages, Chief Executive Officer Bharat Dindyal said “transmission is the challenge” although enough power is being generated.
He said the only exposure is on the transmission side.
“In terms of outages, we don’t see an exposure on the generation side, network side we have exposure. What we find happening this time is that people are driving and they seem to be targeting the poles. We have a lot of those and there is only so much we can do.
“We have to ensure we can respond to that when it happens,” the CEO added.
To address emergencies, GPL is paying close attention to its customer service operations and it now offers WhatsApp messaging on 699-4882 and a live chat feature on its website (www.gplinc.com)
Prepaid customers are advised to top up adequately and the wider population are asked to practice safe driving and not to overload circuits in homes and businesses.
Altogether the company is promising a lot more emergency personnel available and equipment made available “when” something happens.