Government Working to Improve GPL Service: Patterson

David Patterson

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Government says it is working to improve the supply of electricity across the country after the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) company was recently penalised by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for failing to improve its service and meet targets.

Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said that the power company is prioritising the upgrade of the transmission and distribution system, and replacing aged transmission lines.

“When we do get the generating set, we’ll be building a new infrastructure for the high voltage section which takes the power from the generator to the substation. Therefore, when this is finished that line will be more reliable and stable. The total shutdowns will have greatly reduced,” he said.

Earlier in this month, the PUC fined the GPL the equivalent of five per cent of the total value of the dividends that would have been due to the shareholders for the year 2017.

Patterson said while he supports the decision and will continue working with the company to improve its services, there was need for GPL to meet its targets.

“The number of outages per year is supposed to be only 75, GPL’s was 125; they didn’t hit that target. They’re also supposed to do physical meter reading readings for 97 per cent of consumers but only did 92 per cent.

“I fully supported PUC’s position. It’s time we hold GPL accountable to these standards, especially since the standards are set jointly by GPL and PUC,” Patterson said.

Other areas where GPL failed during last year include the ability to achieve an average availability of 80 per cent. The company reported that average availability was 78.2 per cent.

Patterson said that the planned natural gas project will help to resolve the generation issue and provide enough capacity at a reduced cost to customers. The move to utilize natural gas is a transition to Guyana’s ‘Green Economy’ which is a high priority for the government.

GPL’s new chief executive officer, Albert Gordon, had earlier stated that a US$110 million grant may be the answer to the country’s blackout woes.

A government statement said that the David Granger administration is considering the request to ensure that citizens have a continuous renewable supply of energy for domestic and for industrial use. – CMC