2nd GPL submarine cable down; more blackouts

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A second GPL Inc. submarine cable was disrupted today, June 6, 2019 due to another a maritime accident, four days following the disruption of its 69kV submarine cable.

The barge involved in the accident

GPL’s 13.8kV submarine cable that rests along upper Demerara River within proximity of Craig, East Bank Demerara was dislodged by a barge sailing along the Demerara River. This incident occurred around 04:23 hrs.

As a result of this incident customers from Vriesland to La Retraite were without electricity until 07:46 hrs while efforts were underway to alternatively power these customers from our Vreed-en-Hoop Substation.

The dislodged cable was located this afternoon by deep-water divers and efforts are being made to hoist and examine it for damages.

Repairs were effected to the onshore transmission and distribution infrastructure that connects to the cable as this was also damaged during the incident.

This is the second cable to develop faults, triggering widespread and prolonged blackouts in the country.

GPL Inc. concluded its examination of the 69 kV submarine cable laid on the river bed along the channel of the Demerara River connecting its Vreed-en-Hoop and Kingston Power Stations. This was the first cable to be damaged.

This examination revealed no further damage on the cable.

As previously reported, investigations conducted on Wednesday June 5, revealed a compromised section of the cable approximately 0.7 km offshore from its Kingston operations.

Officials from the China Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) were a part of its efforts to retrieve and examine the submarine cable and are at present preparing a curative plan of action.

In the interim, the Utility Company is continuing to engage MARAD in indentifying an alternative route to lay a 13.8kV submarine cable along the Demerara River, in an effort to reconnect our Vreed-en-hoop operations to the Eastern sections of Demerara Berbice Interconnected System. Both entities are also engaged in discussions regarding establishing improved maritime conduct within proximity of our submarine cables.

Future updates will be provided as these efforts progress.