GPL sheds light on “blackout”

─ reveals plans to encourage persons to ‘go green’

DPI, Guyana, Friday, September 13, 2019

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company is working to improve the electrical capacity to the grid which supplies power to consumers.

This was revealed today during a stakeholder meeting held at the Herdmanston Lodge, as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Power and Light, Albert Gordon identified the major causes for the spate of power outages affecting consumers.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of Directors Rawle Lucas, shared the findings that were forwarded to the Board of Directors from the management of GPL.

“Nearly half of the outages, 45% to be exact, were caused by either an earth fault or a generator trip while an additional 20% of the outages stemmed from network switching or overcurrent.”

Gordon explained that overcurrent on the grid causes the system to dump the excess electricity, which causes a power outage as there is no backup power to cover the gap created by the dump, and this indicates the network’s inability to respond appropriately to load changes.

Compounding the situation is the underwater 69KV cable that was severed in early June, which has decreased the electrical capacity of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System – DBIS.

Gordon explained, “going forward we do recognise that we need additional capacity on the DBIS based on expected demand growth. We think, in the short-medium term, we need about 120MW, based on the expected retirement days of the units mentioned earlier. We should be taking out 60MW by 2022, so we would want to replace that but also put in additional capacity to cater for demand.”

An improved generation capacity coupled with efficient and sufficient redundancy will result in fewer power outages across the country. In the interim, GPL will be pushing to reduce the power supply demand by encouraging citizens to move towards rooftop solar PVs (photovoltaic system). These systems have electricity-generating solar panels mounted on the rooftops of a residential or commercial building or structure. The push for this system is twofold, according to Gordon. “You may wonder why we are interested in that – our policy is to help the government achieve its mandate of renewables and that must include distributed generation so we want to encourage that so as we put in new capacity to help in meeting demand we are also trying to minimize the demand by helping it to become more efficient.” Overall, the power company intends to move the entire grid to 100% renewable energy, however in the interim, they will make Wakenaam the first community to run on one-hundred-percent renewable energy. Wakenaam will then be a framework for the rest of the network.

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