GPL says power outages reduced by 10% in 2022; almost all bills are by actual meter readings
The management of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) company made an appearance before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Wednesday and reported that it was able to reduce the frequency of power outages by roughly 10 per cent in 2022 with its billing currently based on just under 90 per cent of actual meter reading for domestic and business customers.
During the public hearing held at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown, GPL’s Divisional Director, Bharrat Harjohn detailed that there were 94 outages for a total duration of 96 hours in 2022.
Those interruptions were due to a number of reasons ranging from planned maintenance to emergencies and including, but not limited to a number of trips in the system.
The company was able to grow its generation capacity by eight per cent in 2022 and said the figures on the number of power outages are an improvement to previous years.
Notwithstanding, Harjohn recognised the reliability issue at hand and said the company intends to ensure there is continuous use of concrete poles structures in primary distribution circuits and the introduction of tubular steel and fiber glass poles with cross arms.
Additionally, GPL says it will intensify its maintenance activities in 2023 and use drone technology to monitor encumbrances and identify network defects.
The company also used the occasion to clarify that around between 88 – 92 per cent of billing for domestic and business customers were done based on actual meter readings and not estimations.
Divisional Director, Rhonda La Fargue, as part of the presentation on standards and performance targets, said the utility company is looking to acquire more hand-held devices for its field staff to conduct these readings while some meters are currently being read remotely.
To further expand remote meter reading, the company is now tasked with expanding its smart meter programme otherwise referred to as an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
Some 10, 849 of those meters were installed in 2022 but and for those persons without the smart meters and receiving estimated bills, the company is encouraging the submission of meter readings via WhatsApp or its web portal.
A total of 80, 000 AMI meters have been installed to date with plans to get all the manual meters replaced in the not-so-distant future to make the system fully smart.