Immediate Expression of Interest to be issued for provision of additional power to GPL’s grid
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Prime Minister, Brig. (ret’d), Hon. Mark Phillips, has instructed the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to immediately issue an Expression of Interest for anyone willing to provide additional power to GPL’s grid.
The aim is to add to the current capacity or current output of GPL.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Phillips, along with Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Hon. Deodat Indar, met with senior management of the utility company at its Kingston Secretariat.
“All steps must be taken to ensure that we have reliable electricity in Guyana and zero power outages,” the Prime Minister told the media.
He also explained that the power company has been the victim of poor planning.
“Many of the projects that GPL is running with right now should have begun three or four years before; however, we are prepared to face the problems and to direct our energies towards fixing these problems in the interest of the people of Guyana.”
Regarding what is specifically needed, Minister Indar said more power is required to boost GPL’s current capacity or output which is about 120 MW.
“If any generator within that entire substation set on the DDIL system goes out and that falls below 120, you will have a blackout. The demand and output are relatively the same, anything that happened down there in terms of mechanical failures, for example, a generator tripping, you will have a blackout,” Minister Indar explained.
He said because there is no backup capacity, more power must be added to the grid.
“So, GPL has been instructed to put out an Expression of Interest quickly to see what is out there in the private sector to add to the grid.”
Additionally, the management of GPL has been tasked with upgrading any generators that were not operational to add further backup power to the system.
“Whether it is five megawatts or seven… I understand that a seven-megawatt generator will be added by tomorrow and another five-megawatt will come on stream in about 16 days,” Minister Indar disclosed.
GPL Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Albert Gordon, mentioned that most of the company’s equipment has reached the age for retirement.
“Based on where we are now and the age of some of the units, about 60 megawatts of what we have now are due for retirement in the next year or two.”
Meanwhile, Minister Indar also made it clear that the costs to complete works at the Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara site will be US$52 million.
In a previous interview on NCN, Minister Indar had stated that the APNU+AFC Coalition Government’s purchase of five Wartsila generators for the GPL is yet to provide the expected value for money.
The generators have not yet arrived in Guyana due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Minister had pointed out that even if they had, they would not have served any purpose because of the issue of civil work which is a 10-month contract that will run until April 2021.
Minister Indar said by purchasing the generating sets, the former Government forced GPL to incur expenses. The utility company took out a loan for the sets, and the deal was negotiated when the previous Government was in a caretaker status.
“The first loan was negotiated and paid $1.1Billion in April (2020). And then a $4.5Billion on May 22, and there was another tranche of $5Billion on June 22. Mind you, we had an election on March 2,” Minister Indar noted in his interview with NCN.
Mentioned again was the Amaila Falls Hydro Project (AFHP), the brainchild of the PPP/ C Government which was earmarked to solve the country’s electricity problems.