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GPL asks blackout-fatigued Essequibo Coast to bear up until replacement parts arrive

Guyana Power and Light Inc. on Thursday announced that residents on the Essequibo Coast would have to wait a bit longer before their blackout woes are eased because a lot depends on the arrival and installation of a part from Switzerland.

The power company said it has already purchased replacement parts for a turbo charger from Switzerland and they are expected to arrive in Guyana on Monday, 8th September. According to GPL, as soon as the parts arrive, they will be dispatched to Anna Regina and installed. The generating set is expected to be in service on Tuesday, 9th September, 2014. Once in service, power supply to all customers will revert to normalcy, added the power company.

GPL explained that on Saturday evening, 30th August, 2014, the turbo charger serving the No.1 Wartsila generating sets at Anna Regina suffered a failure. Consequently, customers on the Essequibo Coast have been suffering from scheduled rolling outages, as the one remaining Wartsila generating set can only serve about half of the demand.

“Unfortunately, the turbo charger failed during the period when a back-up Caterpillar generating set was taken out of service and is currently undergoing a major overhaul. Regrettably the overhaul will not be completed until late next week,” said GPL.

The utility company said that it has mobile Caterpillar generating sets in other parts of the countrybut none can be used at Anna Regina, as the sets are rated at 60 hertz whilst Anna Regina’s plant and network are 50 hertz. In an effort to further boost generating capacity at the location in the short term, the Company plans to convert another Caterpillar set from 60 hertz to 50 hertz at an estimated cost of $50 million.

In the near term, the company is seeking to construct a new 60 hertz Wartsila Plant at Anna Regina. Civil foundation works are scheduled to commence later this year and the new set will be installed in 2015. Concomitantly, the distribution network will also be converted to 60 hertz.

Additionally, GPL says it will convert the 20-year old existing Wartsila plant to 60Hz, which will be used as a reliable standby and peaking facility.

GPL says it has been informing its customers of the outages via local media. However, it appears that some customers have not accessed the information, the company is now making a national media release. GPL says it regrets this unfortunate incident and sincerely apologises to all of its customers on the Essequibo Coast.