‘We will hold Wartsila accountable’ – President Ali says
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali
President Dr. Irfaan Ali

–AG reviewing contract following shutdown of power plant

FOLLOWING a massive disruption at the Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) Garden of Eden Power Plant Friday night on the East Bank of Demerara, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Saturday said that the government is reviewing the contract between the supplier of the plant’s generators, the Wartsila Corporation, to determine its liability for damages and repairs.

The President reiterated the government’s mission of holding companies and contractors hired by the State accountable for substandard work.
“We are going to hold Wartsila accountable. Whether you’re an international contractor or regional contractor, or even a local contractor, I have made very clear, you will be held accountable for the work you do for this country. So, they [Wartsila] have to fix it and they have to get it up and running,” President Ali said.

In November 2020, the government received its five new dual-fuel generating sets from Wartsila which cost a whopping US$41 million and boosted the power supply of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) by 46.5 Megawatts (MW).

Late Friday afternoon, the Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, visited the power station and announced that operations at the facility will be temporarily halted as a result of technical challenges being experienced with the generators.

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Garden of Eden Power Station

On the advice of the technical officials, a decision was taken to shut down the generators over fears of a massive explosion after it was discovered that fuel made its way into the exhaust system.
President Ali, on Saturday, announced that GPL and the Attorney-General, Anil Nandlall, are both in the process of reviewing the terms of the contract with the company to determine the level of liability.

“There must be a clause for damages. And I’ve asked him [the Attorney General) to examine this contract and to see whether there are penalties, penalties when you have shut down because you have an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] contract and there must be performance indicators,” President Ali said.

An original equipment manufacturer agreement is used by a company that takes components of products from one or more companies in order to build one product which it then sells under its own brand and company name.

The Head of State explained that clauses are expected to be included in the contract that would provide for continuous managing and maintenance operations, and to recognise any defect with the devices.

President Ali disclosed that one particular area of concern the AG will be looking into is the prescribed number of Wartsila human resource persons that should be present at the facility and for what period.
He noted that on Friday, Wartsila agreed to immediately dispatch a team of engineers to Guyana to correct the technical challenges.

“They (Wartsila) have an Operation & Maintenance Agreements contract also to see whether you’re supposed to have X number of human resources capability on the ground. Because I saw they said they have to bring an engineer. So, they have to inquire whether the contract would have provided for that engineer to be on the ground here and if it did why those persons were not here,” said President Ali.

STILL UNDER WARRANTY
According to a release from Prime Minster Phillips on Friday, GPL’s Garden of Eden Power Station facility is still under warranty, and as a result, the contracted Finnish company would be liable for any expenses.

The Prime Minister noted that at a meeting with the company, he expressed the government’s disappointment that the new plant developed such significant problems at such an early stage after its commissioning in 2021.
“As a government, we will ensure that this project is fixed and that Wartsila covers the cost since there is a warranty in place,” the Prime Minister said.

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