Electrical requirements not being adopted in solar energy installations for these gov’t contracts

Electrical standards not being followed in solar power installations for these gov’t contracts

Dear editor,

With all emphasis on the disposal of work performed by government contractors, it is expected that the technical specifications and information contained in the contractor bill of materials will be consistent with, or at least reasonable in, relevant standards . Unfortunately, successive governments have ignored this basic premise, and documents with confusing and pointless instructions to contractors are still the order of the day.

In the solar sector, for example, a separation between a 12 V battery bank and a 2000 W inverter must have a nominal output of at least 166 amperes. However, several recent contracts in Region 9 required one with a rating of 60 amps which in reality would trip or burn immediately when the inverter is charged. Likewise, a 60 amp isolation is required between a 60 amp charge regulator and the battery bank, but the document requires a 15 amp isolation which would either trip or burn. The electrical standards are not complied with in the solar power systems. Anyone with an electrical idea is hired by contractors to carry out their installations, resulting in different styles and appearances on identical contracts, and the main reason for these failures is installations shortly after completion. In some cases, AC circuit breakers are installed instead of DC circuit breakers.

In the Home Wiring section, most of the instructions are not in electrical language and do not follow the electrical code, but are rather confusing and in many cases contradict Guyana electrical standards. For example, a recent deal in Region 9 states that the circuit must be installed in accordance with Lethem Power Company standards rather than electrical inspection requirements. Most of the buildings are wired with cheap Chinese cables and electrical fittings, though the National Bureau of Standards is trying to get rid of this. To make it even better, these contracts are approved and payments made by government engineers.

My message to the Minister of Public Works is that you cannot hold contractors responsible for sub-standard work if the technical specifications and other information given to them is incorrect. The ministry also cannot issue instructions that contradict the standards of other government agencies such as the state electrical inspection. It is also a slap in the face of the regulator, and therefore the government, when electrical work on government buildings is done by unlicensed individuals and then approved by government engineers.


Patrick Fitzpatrick


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