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GPL says severity, frequency of outages to reduce

(L-R) Engineer Kempton France, Project Manager Gail Best and Senior Divisional Director Colin Singh

The Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) says widespread power outages like the one which affected some 37,000 customers in Demerara on Sunday should now be a thing of the past with the work done during the outage.

The company had placed ads in the media stating that power would be out from 8 AM to 5PM to facilitate work at the Sophia substation but power returned until around 8 PM. The Sophia facility is the control centre for GPL’s transmission and distribution networks.

“We brought into service a new sectionalised busbar that would give us the flexibility of isolating sections instead of what happened yesterday where we had to shut down the plant and as such interrupt service to about 37,000 plus customers,” Project Manager Gail told reporters Monday.

 She added that Sunday’s inclement weather was a major factor in the delay.

“We weren’t on the ground, we were up in the air, suspended in the air working with spanner and crescent and so on so we couldn’t go through during the rain, we had to take some pause … we were able to complete all works just an hour short of the scheduled outage time that we had announced which would have been about six o’clock.”

Best said they then had to test the new component before putting it in service.

“We had to confirm that everything was correct … and the testing caused some more delays. However, we were able to complete all works, the testing around 7 o’clock last evening and to hand over the system to the system control operatives so they could normalise the system to repower customers,” she said.

“Yesterday’s outage was just to allow us to progress from Step A to Step B, it is not the end all of the outages. However, with the sectionalised bus that we have in place now we wouldn’t be shutting down the plant ever again. We will be isolating sections to allow us to proceed with our works.”

Operations and Planning Engineer Kempton France added that the new component would result in less blackouts and of shorter durations.  

Work is also underway at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara and the officials say no outages would be necessary to facilitate that operation.

France added that work would also result in less blackouts, more stable voltage and a reduction in line loss since shorter feeder lines will replace some 20 miles of feeders.

Sunday’s exercise also enabled GPL to connect the existing Sophia facility to a new one adjacent to it as well as another being constructed at North Ruimveldt.

The work on the seven substations is scheduled to be completed by year end.