Although the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) would have completed remedial works to rectify the damaged submarine cable across the Demerara River linking the Vreed-en-Hoop and Kingston power plants, residents along the West Bank and West Coast of Demerara may not be relieved of power failures just yet.
In a statement to the media recently, GPL explained, “…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 (Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System)”.
In addition, “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,” the power company informed.
The “energised” 13.8 kilovolts (kV) submarine cable came as a result of GPL’s damaged 69 kV cable which resulted in the unavailability of 14 Megawatts (MW) of generation to the Eastern half of the DBIS.
The routing and laying of the new cable were done with the aid of 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 Control and Engineering Services departments.
MARAD will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the cable from potential damage by oceangoing vessels, even as plans are afoot to have it laid at least three metres beneath the riverbed.
In the meantime, the new 13.8 kV cable will be providing over 5 MW of power to the Eastern DBIS.
“It spans approximately 4000 feet from Princess Street, Georgetown, to the GPL power station at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara.
Additionally, two small generating units, with an aggregate capacity of 2 MW, 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,” GPL informed.
While this cable has been renewed, a second submarine cable which was damaged by another vessel is also in the process of being fixed.
The damaged 69 kV cable which rests along the upper Demerara River within proximity of Craig, East Bank Demerara, was dislodged by a barge sailing along the Demerara River.
GPL said it is working closely with the contractor to complete the repairs as quickly as possible and to have the cable back in operation soon.