Essequibo Coast to brace for load shedding until Christmas
While power has been restored on the Essequibo Coast, residents will have to brace themselves for several months of electrical load shedding as the authorities accelerate the conversion from a 50 Cycle to 60 Cycle until Christmas; by which time new generating capacity should be installed.
This announcement was made today (Thursday) by Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, who was at the time responding to Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Dharamkumar Seeraj’s official queries on the state of the electrical system on the Essequibo Coast following several weeks of massive outages.
Minister Patterson told the Members of the National Assembly that the gasket of the 25 year old Wartsila Generating set at Anna Regina was the source of the problem.
He said, this has since been repaired but the genset continues to be besieged by age-related problems.
According to the minister, Government has ordered three 1.8MW plans and their components are currently en-route to Guyana.
He explained that Government expects the new generating plant to be fully installed by Christmas during which time the company will be looking to complete the conversion of the grid.
This conversion, he told the House, will lead to load shedding up until its completion.
Seeraj, who; utilising the opening provisions for questions to a minister, questioned what government measures were being taken to restore reliable electricity supply to the Essequibo Coast which he said was to Region Two “who punishing for five weeks”.
Patterson quickly quipped that power had been restored and pointed to what he called a matter of public record, “we have procured three brand new sets for Anna Regina.”
The generating sets and their associated components for installation are due to arrive in Guyana in October, he said.
Responding to supplementary queries by Seeraj, the Minister assured that the process was transparent and fully publicly tendered with bids evaluated and an order placed.
He recalled that the intention to have the generating sets purchased for Essequibo was announced during his Budget Presentation for 2016.
PPP/C Member of Parliament Cornel Damon attempted to query if any compensation would be given to those persons that lost perishables as a result of the prolonged blackouts but was quickly shut down by Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland.
Dr Scotland insisted the substantive question did not center on compensation.
Damon also suggested to Minister Patterson that according to information supplied to himself, the blackouts could have been avoided. He questioned whether it was a case of sabotage—a notion quickly dismissed by Minister Patterson who suggested that any such information on Damon’s part should be turned over to the Minister of Public Security “forthwith”