US$292M master plan for GPL’s transmission and distribution – CEO
As the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) attempts to improve the services it offers to Guyanese, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bharat Dindyal has highlighted that a US$292 million “master plan” for transmission and distribution has been developed.
He said this on Friday morning during a webinar organised by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), held under the topic “Energy and Electricity: What we should all know.”
In this webinar, Consumer Advocate, Dexter George raised a number of concerns about the power company’s performance in supplying its customers with electricity. In fact, George contended that it has become a “norm to accept power outages in Guyana”.
Providing an example of this, he said that the power company publishes notices on social media and in the newspapers indicating that there would be daily, scheduled outages for maintenance works and infrastructure upgrades.
“For the last couple of months, along the Georgetown/ East Coast Corridor where they are doing some infrastructural changes, the frequency of power outages was too high and a lot of persons complained about it,” George underscored.
And, the advocate said that these occurrences are exacerbated by the more ad hoc outages prompted by a number of causes, including damage to transformers.
Responding to the concerns raised by George, Dindyal said that the nearly $300 million master plan was crafted and this could address some of these concerns.
“We are thinking that this can be implemented within a five to eight-year period but it calls for a complete rebuild of the existing network and while we rebuild this network we have to continue to provide the service,” the GPL CEO explained.
The plan, he related, includes building out the transmission system to all of the major load centres while centralising generation. With the plan already developed, he said that GPL is now seeking to source financing for its implementation. This financing, he said, would have to be a combination of grant and concessional financing but he was quick to point out that the concessional financing sought would have to be “manageable”.
According to Dindyal, an optimal energy mix – integrating natural gas and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower – has been under consideration.
“We have to look down to the long term to look at what capacity is coming from where and what is the projected cost and work out a sensible blend of tariffs,” the CEO said.
He also alluded to a reduction in tariffs (or, the money paid for electricity) in another few years with the 300 megawatts (MW) power plant using the natural gas from offshore Guyana.
“By 2024, we are hoping to have this 300 MW plant up and running and I’m thinking any attempt to reduce tariff would have to be in the first full year after, in 2025,” he said.