A damaged submarine power cable across the Demerara River is not likely to be repaired for more than a month with the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) yesterday warning of outages if any engines in the Demerara and Berbice systems should go down in the interim.
According to the state-owned power company, significant efforts continue to be injected into the repair of the damaged fibre optic cable.
“An integral component ‘splicing kit’ is en route to Guyana. The cable is projected to be in operation by November. We continue to express regret for this unfortunate experience and seek the patience of our valued customers,” a statement from GPL said yesterday.
On Monday evening, two GPL units at Canefield and Onverwagt, Berbice, developed mechanical and control problems, respectively, and were removed from service.
“As a result, six megawatts were unavailable to meet the evenings’ peak demand and thus necessitated load shedding in Berbice,” GPL disclosed.
GPL has enough engines to generate the required power within East Demerara and Berbice even with the damage to the submarine cable, the statement said.
However, the damage to the cable resulted in a loss of 16 megawatts of generation capacity from the new Vreed-en-Hoop Wartsila plant which was commissioned last year with the intention to help the increasing demand for power.
The submarine cable was supposed to take the extra power from Vreed-en-Hoop to stabilize the networks in East Demerara and Berbice.
While GPL does not have a big generation issue in Berbice and Demerara, that cable has placed hardships on consumers and pressure on the Coalition Government to fix the issues.
In recent weeks, there have been numerous cases of outages.
The problems with two Berbice engines on Monday would highlight how shaky GPL is at the moment when it comes to generation of power.
The Chinese-built submarine cable across the Demerara River is an integral part of a US$40M project to construct new transmission lines on the coastland along with seven new sub-stations.
The Demerara River cable provides a critical link between Kingston and Vreed-en-Hoop. GPL badly needed the extra power from the 26-megawatt Wartsila power plant to help with its generation.
Currently, because of the damaged cable, the Vreed-en-Hoop power station is reportedly working at a third of its capacity with two of its three engines reportedly idle.
GPL would have badly wanted those engines to work as others at Kingston and Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara, are running over time.
The submarine cable was reportedly cut by a ship’s propeller.
The situation has been an embarrassment to GPL, as they may have to rehire the original Chinese contractor, CMC, that laid it in the first place, to have the cable repaired. The cost may be upwards of $100M.
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