President Ali assures GPL issues will be tackled in light of widespread power outages
President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has assured the public that the government is committed to addressing the issues plaguing the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), especially in light of the recent power outages experienced nationwide.
“We are not shying away from the problem; we have to confront this issue… we are going to fix it,” the head of state said in a recent national address.
He outlined the challenging circumstances under which the utility company operates, explaining that the government is dealing with a situation where it is attempting to catch up after five years of neglect by the former APNU+AFC Coalition Government.
“Five years of not investing in the maintenance of the system, expanding the system, and at the same time building additional capacity to take care of the increasing demand,” the president underscored.
When the government took office in August 2020, it discovered that the arrears owed to GPL by the government agencies alone amounted to $13 billion, a situation that had pushed the utility company to the brink of financial collapse.
The situation led to the administration subsidising the company by over US$100 million. All taxes were removed from fuel and VAT was stripped from electricity, among other support.
However, due to the country’s development, there is an increased demand for energy.
“Truth be told, the pace at which we are going would require us to double our capacity as quickly as possible,” the president said.
He underscored the significance of the gas-to-energy and Amaila Falls hydropower projects.
Had the country successfully implemented the Amaila Falls project in 2013, the president stated that it would have added 165 megawatts of power to the nation’s power grid at just one cent per kilowatt-hour.
Understanding the challenges faced by the current system, President Ali said his administration continues to make significant investments in the energy sector.
It has also initiated the gas-to-energy project at Wales, Region Three, which aims to provide 300 megawatts of power, further boosting the system.
A 12-inch pipeline, stretching approximately 200km offshore, will transport natural gas from the Liza Phase One and Liza Phase Two Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels to the power plant and Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility.
Additionally, a 24-kilometre transmission line from Wales to Eccles will be installed to support the gas-to-energy project. This will be followed by a 60-kilometre transmission line from Wales to Vreed-en-Hoop.
A grid-tied system is also being explored to generate solar energy in Essequibo, Berbice, and Linden. The tender for this project has recently closed.
With new capacity installed in the last three years, including the restoration of two engines at Garden of Eden, GPL has found that peak demand has moved from 110mw to 185mw. The company is generating 10mw below that peak demand.
President Ali urged high-volume consumers to consider returning to self-generation during peak hours, particularly from 13:00 to 15:00 and 18:00 to 22:00 hrs, to reduce outages in residential communities.
As a temporary measure, the head of state said large consumers may face an additional cost of 10 cents per kilowatt once they choose to remain on the grid.