247 blackouts in Berbice last year
– 63 per cent rise in blackouts in 2011
By Leon Suseran
Berbice recorded 247 blackouts last year, the most ever for the past three years and a 63 per cent rise from the 2011 total. In 2011, there were 157 blackouts compared to 222 in 2010, a reduction of 65 power outages last year in the Berbice area.
The electricity situation in Guyana has been getting worse over recent times resulting in Guyanese experiencing various periods in the year of severe power outages. These ‘blackout periods’ are often met with numerous excuses by officials of the Guyana Power and Light Inc; 2012 was no exception.
A period of electricity delivery usually follows an electricity crisis, but the situation usually returns to a poor state not too long after. In Berbice, the worst months for blackouts were May and November. In May, there were 34 blackouts while there were 30 in November.
In August, when there was a power crisis which saw 20 blackouts, GPL informed Berbicians of annual maintenance works on two of its main transmission lines (from Onverwagt in the West to Canefield and the other from Canefield to Number 53 Village). Problems were being encountered with a transformer at the company’s main power station in Berbice, the Canefield Power Station.
By July, there were already 160 blackouts for the year, compared to 89 during the same period in 2011.
The next crisis came in November, which saw 30 power outages. Berbicians were asked by the company to bear with the outages for four weeks into December due to a damaged 69kV transformer at the Canefield station.
This transformer was said to be the crucial component in the Berbice Interconnected system whereby power can be shared amongst the three power sources in the Berbice area: Skeldon Sugar factory, Onverwagt and Canefield Power Stations.
The stations, as a result of the damaged transformer, were no longer inter-linked and therefore, could not have shared or transferred power to each other.
But perhaps no other area suffered more power outages than the Upper Corentyne area. The situation became worse in November when rolling blackouts hit the heavily- populated area. The generating equipment at the Skeldon Sugar Factory was reported to have been down for maintenance. Letter writers sharpened their pens and wrote several letters to the press about the disgusting situation.
Not too long after, GPL denied that Skeldon was out of operation, however, the facts of long hours of blackouts, before and after the GPL statement was issued, proved otherwise. GPL’s Chief Executive Officer Bharat Dindyal and GPL’S Technical Director, in November, visited the Skeldon Co- Gen Plant.
MONTH 2010 2011 2012
January 24 11 20
February 18 15 24
March 22 11 24
April 10 10 18
May 20 17 34
June 19 32 17
July 16 2 23
August 26 5 20
September 19 14 13
October 17 16 20
November 24 7 30
December 9 17 4