Where is the light at the end of tunnel?; Opposition MP says inconsistent power will push away investors
Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Vindhya Persaud rising in defense of her party’s motion on the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Incorporated likened the state of affairs at the electricity company to “looking down a dark tunnel.”
She said the consistency in black outs has caused losses to the ordinary citizens who often time go without power for 24, 48 and even 72 hours of unscheduled power outages. Dr. Persaud said the power fluctuations and surges have resulted in many persons losing their appliances without any plausible explanation, solution or long-term plan from GPL.
Just like the dark tunnel, the Opposition MP noted that her side of the House also remains in the dark regarding the shortcomings of the electricity company.
Business entities, commercial entities and investors, she pointed out are looking for consistent power, since this translates into more profitability. She reasoned that many investors will back away from the country as a result of inconsistent power source.
Dr. Persaud believes that Guyanese are paying for black outs, making reference to the 14% Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity charges.
Failure to give a tangible strategy translates into bad decisions, bad management, bad governance and a bad 19 months in office for the APNU+AFC Governments, the Opposition MP noted.
Now that Norconsult has deemed the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project as the most reliable source of renewable energy, she questioned “what are we doing with that report.”
According to Dr. Persaud people are frustrated, angry and they want something to be done. These days it is “long long hours of black out,” said Dr. Persaud and when the Customer Service is contacted persons are stone walled or get no answers.
She warned that just like the Parking Meter System, one day citizens will take a stance on the electricity situation.
The Opposition MP also alluded to the fact that criminal activities are exacerbated during black outs, another factor that lends to the citizenry feeling unsafe.
Meanwhile, Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes in defense of the Government said this issue of the inconsistent power supply has plagued Guyana for over 40 years since the GPL was the Guyana Electricity Company (GEC).
She noted that efforts are being made under the Coalition Government to explore alternative energy sources, among other plans.
Minister Hughes noted that for the first time Government and the GPL have agreed to purchase residual power from private companies and according to the Minister it was a deliberate policy of the former Government not to purchase power from private companies.
Earlier in the evening, her colleague Business Minister Dominic Gaskin also accused the former administration of failing to provide a reliable energy source for decades.
He pointed out that the Coalition did not promise to fix this issue within 100 days of assuming office, or even within a year, but “fix it we will.”
According to the Minister since this Government has committed to the use of green energy, “up pops this motion.” He said it is hard to believe that the Opposition only now realizes the importance of these strategies to ameliorate the age old problem of power outages.