The Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) on Tuesday successfully energized a new 13.8 kV submarine cable across the Demerara River linking the Vreed-en-Hoop and Kingston power plants.
On June 2, GPL’s 69 kV cable from Kingston to Vreed-en-Hoop sustained damage which resulted in the unavailability of 14 MW of generation to the eastern half of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS).
GPL, in a statement yesterday, said it immediately developed an emergency plan to reduce outages, which included the laying of a new 13.8 kV cable across the Demerara River to make up for a portion of the shortfall in generating capacity in the eastern DBIS.
“The routing and laying of the new cable were successfully achieved with support from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), Gaico Construction Services and staff from GPL’s Project Management Department, Engineering Services, System Planning and Designs, Network Operations and System Controland Engineering Services departments.”
GPL said that this was despite the inclement weather. During this period the planting of new poles and the construction of additional overhead line sections was completed within a few days.
“Plans are in place to bury the cable at least three (3) meters beneath the riverbed. The safety of the cable from potential damage due to oceangoing vessels will be monitored by MARAD.”
The new 13.8 kV cable is currently providing over 5 MW of power to the eastern DBIS.
It spans approximately 4,000 feet from Princes Street, Georgetown to the GPL power station at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara.
“Additionally, two small generating units, with an aggregate capacity of two megawatts were returned from Anna Regina to boost generation during peak demand.
Further, one of GPL’s second largest units, a 7.8 MW is back in operation after being unavailable for planned maintenance.”
According to the power company, which has faced a severe public backlash, with the cable in operation, daily scheduled load shedding was discontinued.
“However, customers on the West Bank and West Coast Demerara may experience periods of service interruptions as the Vreed-en-Hoop plant, which is now operating in an isolated mode, is not as stable as when it was interconnected to the rest of the DBIS.”
Additionally, the inadequate reserve capacity which has been exacerbated by the absence of the 69 kV cable, may result in generation shortfall and periodic service interruptions in the eastern DBIS.
GPL said that remedial works to repair the damaged 69 kV cable are progressing.
“GPL is working closely with the contractor to expeditiously complete repairs and have the cable back in operation in the shortest possible time.”
Meanwhile, on Friday GPL’s sister company, the Power Producers and Distributors Inc. (PPDI), said Friday that it is setting its eyes on being an independent producer. It is also planning to operate and maintain other GPL facilities.
PPDI said it is actively working towards obtaining its license to independently produce and distribute electricity.
This was announced at a press briefing held on Friday by Chief Executive Officer of PPDI, Dr. Aaron Fraser.
“We are in the process of acquiring a license to become an independent power producer,” CEO Fraser said. The head of PPDI also noted that this step is an essential prerequisite to PPDI building and operating its own power plant.
As it stands, PPDI functions in the capacities to both operate and maintain four of GPL’s power plants. The sites of these plants are Garden of Eden, Number 1 and Number 2 power plants in Kingston, and the Vreed-en-Hoop power plant.
PPDI has the responsibility to produce approximately 106 megawatts of electricity to supply GPL’s grid through these power plants.
The company plans to operate more of GPL’s facilities.
CEO Fraser said, “Plans are in train for us to undertake the operations and maintenance of the other GPL facilities in the country.”
Meanwhile, Director of Operations and Maintenance, Brian Goodridge, provided an update on one of the generators that had become defective during the month of May. The generator is expected to be back in the operation chain within the coming month.
Goodridge explained, “The rotor for it [the generator] is out for repairs in Miami. So, we are waiting for that to come back”.
In December 2016, PPDI was established to operate and maintain power plants that were previously under the control of Wartsila Operations Guyana Inc. (WOGI).
Last January, the PPDI secured International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001 certification. According to the ISO, the certificate is as a result of the PDDI’s “strong customer focus, the motivation of top management, the process approach and continual improvement of the company.”
The PPDI recently came under fire for allegedly using Chinese parts on its Wartsila engines.
However, the company took media and activists who had protested the outages on a tour of its Kingston operations, answering questions and refuting the allegations.
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