GPL should be reining in illegal connections to bring electricity rates down

Dear Editor,
While I was reading the article ‘GPL spends additional US$8M on fuel for first half of 2011‘ in  Kaieteur News the GPL workers were busy disconnecting electricity from a number of homes in Betsy Ground, East Canje, and probably elsewhere too. The article informed us that approximately 30 per cent of the population is illegally connected.  Added to this a section of the population in Linden, Ituni and Kwakwani pays $5.00 per kilowatt. Because of all this consumers have to pay exorbitant bills that have been described as double the rates elsewhere in the world.

It is indeed gut-wrenching to see these workers of GPL cutting off and now removing the meters of residents who have been struggling to pay the unconscionably high bills which have been eating up to half of some people’s salaries.  Surely this fraction of salary on electricity is unprecedented. Why are they targeting honest workers and households and not enforcing equal rates countrywide and reining in the illegal connections and thefts which will enable the rates to be reduced substantially? People nowhere else will accept this.

Also why give free solar systems to each Amerindian home and keep penalizing coastlanders for non-payment? If the report of the payments required for reconnection are correct, it appears as if lots of legitimate consumers will be left without electricity. For if they cannot pay one month‘s bill how will they afford reconnection.

The government will now have to give solar systems to these disconnected persons too, as well as to other poor people.
It is very sad that this is happening in a country with so many sources of renewable energy including hydro, where electricity could have been free. Citizens have to suffer so much and development is stultified because of high electricity bills. Lots of waking up is required, otherwise when Guyanese go back to their electrical appliances some will be hard pressed to maintain anything other than limited usage, if they don’t have to cease using them altogether.
Yours faithfully,
A Sookraj