GPL CEO to meet angry Essequibo residents
After a group of upset residents stormed out of a meeting with officials of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) yesterday, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Albert Gordon will be heading to the Essequibo Coast on Friday to answers questions about the irregular power supply facing the county.
GPL’s Public Relations Officers Shevon Sears and Natalie Pindar were unable to answer burning questions from residents about the cause of the power disruption and when electricity supply can be restored.
Councillor, Arnold Adams contended that it is a “waste of time” for GPL to send Public Relations Officers who cannot provide real answers to the people of Essequibo Coast who have been suffering for about three weeks due to the frequent power outages and fluctuation of electricity.
The residents are continuing their protests until they receive satisfactory answers from GPL.
A protest was held this morning outside of the Anna Regina Power Station where residents expressed dissatisfaction with the meeting yesterday and demanded to speak with more senior officers, like a government minister.
Only two of the seven units at the Anna Regina Power Station are working and they are insufficient to meet the electricity demands along the Essequibo Coast.
Gordon told the News Room that GPL will be investigating the reason for the shutdown of the four units and devise a plan for more regular maintenance.
Councillor Adams said he received reports that it was the negligence of the staff, who were playing dominoes, which resulted in the major shutdown of the systems.
But the GPL Head says he did not receive such reports but will be probing the matter thoroughly. He will be meeting with representatives of Macorp later today, to find out how the equipment failed.
“Some have electrical problems and some have mechanical problems with the diesel engines that drive the generators … units that were brought in for backup also failed … we want to understand better what is the root cause of all of this,” Gordon explained.
During the meeting with Macorp, the GPL CEO said they will also discuss how to accelerate the return of the four units that are currently down.
Additionally, he said GPL will be installing new units which should be functioning by the end of the year to meet the electricity demands.
Residents and businessperson along the Essequibo Coast have suffered tremendous damages and incurred increased expenses due to the blackout woes.
In addition to damaged equipment and spoilt food supplies, businesspersons are buying extra fuel to run their generators in order to sustain their operations.
One businesswoman, Shaida Khan, told News Room that she spent more than $500,000 since the blackouts commenced to buy more fuel just to ensure she continues earning a livelihood.
Another businessman, who sells chicken, had to stock up on ice in a bid to prevent the stock from spoiling.
Asked whether any of these individuals will be compensated, the GPL CEO says he will have to check what the law dictates.
“I am not sure what the policy is or what the legislation and arrangement is. So I’ll get a bit of understanding on that,” he stated.