PM troubled by GPL’s ‘nuisance outages’; Chairman says ‘we will fix it’
A series of power outages at the weekend forced a meeting between the top management of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Prime Minister, Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar.
During the meeting with the Board of the utility company, the Prime Minister expressed his concern about the persistent power outages. He said citizens have lodged several complaints with him directly and he has also seen comments on social media.
To this end, he noted that he was troubled by what GPL refers to as “nuisance outages.” The Prime Minister, in brief comments, after the meeting said that while he is aware of the challenges facing GPL, efforts must be taken to ensure that the citizenry does not suffer.
“I am aware that GPL is doing extensive repairs to its transmission and distribution system and that is the main reason for the outages,” Brigadier Phillips noted while explaining that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government inherited a system that was poorly maintained.
“We are at a stage of doing corrective work and I appeal to the people to bear with GPL,” he said.
GPL has promised to employ a better public relations strategy to notify the population of these developments in the future. Probably the most impassioned statement came from GPL’s Board Chairman, Maurice Gajadhar, who took up the post in September 2020.
“I have blackouts too… Are we doing our best? Probably not. Are we trying to do our best? Absolutely. Things have to change and if it does not change, we have to go… We care about your service and we care about your life and we will fix it.
“We at GPL are also consumers and we feel your pain… I have been bombarded by customers and we are trying to change the system to bring it to a point where it works for all our customers,” Gajadhar said.
GPL serves well over 200,000 customers across Guyana who depend on the company for electricity and said it is vigorously addressing the issues. Its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bharat Dindyal joined with Minister Indar to acknowledge that citizens who have complained have rightfully done so.
Indar assured that those complaints did not fall on deaf ears and Dindyal promised speedy repairs and maintenance to the old distribution lines.
“It’s a case of not doing adequate maintenance over a period of time… so we are facing a situation of accumulation of maintenance… when these things happen, we have to look at what is threatening the line and that would mean walking the line pole by pole to find the issue,” Dindyal explained.
Dindyal said GPL needs to return to a point where it is doing enough maintenance to maintain the line. He noted that there are expected to be some outages on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara in the coming days as the company looks to stabilise its transmission network in three weeks.