PRIME Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips was satisfied Tuesday afternoon after inspecting the repairs done to the recently damaged Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) 69kV submarine cable.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar; Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Cui Jianchun; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GPL, Bharat Dindyal; Deputy CEO (strategic operations) of GPL, Samaroo Ramtahal and representative of China National Machinery Import and Export Cooperation, Andrew Jin.
The 69kV submarine cable links GPL’s Vreed-en-Hoop and the Kingston substations and allows for the transfer of electrical power into the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS).
According to the Prime Minister, the repairs to the damaged cable have been completed and was tested on Tuesday evening.
“We will be testing the cable tonight, into tomorrow and based on what I’m told, by tomorrow evening it should be up and running and we will be able to have the balancing of the (electrical) load from Vreed-en-Hoop into the rest of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System.”
The Prime Minister said this means that Guyanese on the Coastland can now expect a stable supply of electricity for Christmas.
The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to the Chinese Ambassador for bringing a team of four engineers from China to Guyana, to assist with the repairs.
Ambassador Jianchun said he was happy to help. He added that China and Guyana are good friends and that it is expected that friends help each other in difficult times.
“We always say that China and Guyana share a strong relationship and we are good friends… this is not about the money; this is really about needs and I commend the government for being a people-centred Government” the ambassador said.
According to Minister Indar, the cable was severely damaged and the government will be seeking to recover the cost spent for it to be repaired. He said the cost has already been estimated at around US$500,000.
“It’s not plug and play, it’s a serious job that required logistics… we’re going to go after the ship owners, the insurance and the agents, to recover every single dollar that we spent. It was not our fault that this happened,” he said.
The minister added that the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has already issued instructions to maritime operators that Area B (the vicinity in which the cable is situated), is now a restricted zone and operators are prohibited from anchoring their vessels there.
“Because the cable has been damaged four times, every time it is severed it gets shorter… ships can’t be anchoring there, we have to monitor that” the minister stated.
The 69kV submarine cable was damaged in late November after it was struck by the anchor of a vessel in the Demerara River.