Gov’t to tax new users now taking extra power from GPL- Jagdeo


Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo announced that a new policy was crafted to tax the “big users” who have recently started taking electricity from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and driving up the demand beyond what the company can supply.

Dr. Jagdeo related that Guyana has about 174 megawatts (MW) in installed capacity but of recent, there has been a demand for about 180MW of power during peak times.

To cope with the increased demand, the Vice President said some users have been taken off of the grid. That means some users may experience power outages.

The increased demand has been linked to “big users” of electricity now seeking power from GPL, which operates Guyana’s main power grid known as the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System.

“A lot of the big users who are self-generating are coming on the grid now and taking power from GPL.

“… we just agreed on a policy that we will, for the peak hours, put a punitive tax on the big users who come onto the grid, because that’s where demand is greater than supply,” Jagdeo said.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo speaking on Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) during the 2023 International Energy Conference and Expo- Guyana (Photo: Office of the Vice President/ February 15, 2023)

But GPL itself cannot cater for the increased demand. So in the short term, Dr. Jagdeo also said the government was sourcing another 30MW of power. That unit should be delivered to Guyana before year end and once delivered, power shortages should be reduced.

He believes these new users are now taking power from GPL’s grid because of the government’s move in 2021 to absorb the increase in water and electricity rates. This was done so the increased cost of fuel, which meant water and electricity would be generated at a higher price, would not be passed onto consumers.

The Vice President also emphasised that these problems would not have been faced if the former APNU+ AFC government had stuck to the PPP’s earlier plans of diversifying the energy mix.

He pointed out that the Amaila Falls hydropower project was just one project that could have increased the supply of electricity locally. That project is now being resuscitated by the Irfaan Ali-led administration as part of a wider plan to meet the growing energy demand through new sources of energy.

The Vice Presidennt reminded the gathering that the government is also constructing a new gas-to-energy project at Wales, West Bank Demerara. Once that project is operational, an additional 300MW of power will be available for local use; that power is expected to be half the cost currently paid.

Meanwhile, GPL this week issued a notice attributed the increased demand to the increasingly high temperatures experienced in recent months as well as the growth in the housing and commercial sector.

GPL, in that notice, urged customers to do more to conserve energy.

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