GPL finds over 400 tampered prepaid meters
Insisting that it was losing billions on an annual basis due to electricity theft, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) says it has begun phasing out the traditional prepaid meters, hundreds of which have been found to have been tampered with.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bharat Dindyal said the new Advanced Metering System – which is the installation of smart meters – seems to be a fix to the issue.
He told reporters last week during a press conference that some 50, 000 smart meters are in stock. The plan is to take the entire metering system to AMI.
That will require a new communication infrastructure to be put in place which would require monetary investment and time. But even with the phasing out of the traditional meters, Dindyal said the new smart meters will be able to serve as prepaid, post-paid and revenue meters.
“There is this high probably these meters can be used for many other purposes when we switch to AMI,” he added.
Dindyal said GPL should not be operating at a loss with the current prepaid meters but said a high percentage, over 400, of these meters were found to be bypassed.
He said another challenge was that the new smart meters were being vandalised by contractors who GPL has hired to do the installation.
With over 40, 000 meters in stock, GPL said its installation process has been stalled because of a shortage in bases.
“When the meters were procured early last year the bases were included and we have been struggling to get,” Dindyal said.
Affected by the global supply chain issue, an emergency order has been made for some 200 bases which is currently being packed in China for shipment to Guyana.
In the meantime, GPL has been pushing ahead by using bases that are in the country for another project, the CEO said.
Currently, persons can make their applications for new meters online at GPL’s website.