GPL considering serious action against employee vandalism, theft of electricity


Amid claims that it was losing billions of dollars on an annual basis due to electricity theft and vandalism of its meters by employees and consumers, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. on Wednesday said it was considering serious action, including prosecution of persons found culpable.

The power company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bharat Dindyal told a press conference that some $5 billion is being lost annually because of electricity theft.

To this end, he said the Loss Prevention Department, with a newly appointed Director, has resumed its focus on prosecuting people for electricity theft

That theft of electricity is supported by the tampering and vandalism of new automated meters being installed by GPL, a major sabotage to the company’s loss reduction programme.

He said persons who have been contracted to install the new metering system have been found to have vandalised the “sophisticated system” even before installation. It is a similar situation with the traditional prepaid meters installed by GPL.

The pilot project for this new metering system has started in the capital, Georgetown with some 19, 00 automatic meters already installed.

Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Bharrat Dindyal (Photo: News Room/December 08, 2021)


“What we are doing is going to a place where the system is so sophisticated that we can sit in an office and see what you’re doing with the meter at home,” the CEO said.

But Dindyal said a major fix to address the “huge problem” of electricity theft calls for an across-the-board culture change.

“Policing has not been successful… there is nothing more we can do on our side… it desires a change in attitude,” the CEO added.

Theft of electricity is not always done by tampering with the network but sometimes by setting up illegal connections. The CEO said additional systems to prevent theft would give rise to legal arguments of entrapping people. This is so because persons could lose their lives when attempting to access electricity illegally.

Dindyal said hundreds of people in key areas have illegal electricity and it has proven to be a challenge for GPL to disconnect these illegal connections.

“We are assessing how do they mitigate the risk of sending in a team in an area where almost everybody stealing and they’re prepared to bring harm to anybody who tries to dissuade them from doing that,” he added.

The company said, however, that it has seen improvements in customers paying their bills.

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