Consultants from China to repair severed submarine cable
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Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar

–work to last two weeks

CONSULTANTS from China are expected in Guyana soon, to start repairs on the Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL’s) severed 69kV submarine cable, which links the Kingston and Vreed-en-Hoop substations.The cable, which was destroyed twice in 2019, was struck recently by a ship’s anchor, resulting in severe damage to an existing splicing joint. Repairing such a cable is complex, so it would require technical intervention from the manufacturers and consultants from China, said Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, in an invited comment on Monday.
“It has not been restored and for that to be repaired it is technical…we need manufacturers and consultants from China and they should leave Wednesday to come here,” said Minister Indar.
He said the consultants would have been here sooner had they not been constrained by the preventative measures in place to guard against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But, once here, the consultants are expected to complete work on the cable after two weeks of commencement. “They told me that when they start, they are looking at two weeks, but it is technical, you need subsea divers and so to go fix that,” said Minister Indar.

Although plans are in place to have the cable repaired, the minister believes it is economical to have stricter systems in place to prevent the cables from being severed again.
The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has already employed strict measures to ensure that ships do not ‘anchor’ in the area next to the cables. Additional measures have also been implemented to boost surveillance in order to detect unauthorised ships and have them removed quickly. “This is important because we not only have to protect the 69kV cable which brings over base load, but the 13.9kV capable which is also important,” said Minister Indar.

It is important to protect both cables because a damaged line had created an unsustainable situation in the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS). As it is now, the national grid is providing 120 megawatts of electricity, an amount which is equal to the consumer demand of 117-120 megawatts of power.  And, with persons growing weary of constant ‘blackouts,’ Minister Indar, has assured that the current administration is working “aggressively” to supply reliable electricity to Guyanese. GPL, on Saturday, announced that ten 1.6 Megawatt (MW) Caterpillar Units were acquired to boost the company’s generating capacity for the holiday season.

It was reported that three of the units will be installed at GPL’s Sophia, Georgetown location, while another three will be placed at GPL’s Onverwagt (West Berbice) location, a release from the company said. The remaining four are backup sets, in case there is a failure of any of the other six units; they each carry a generating capacity of 1.6 megawatts.
All ten units are expected to boost the generation capacity in the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System, which should provide customers with reliable electricity.

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