Minister of Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud lauded operations at the Mahdia Power and Light (MPL) plant and ordered that the board be properly constituted, at a meeting on Saturday during a visit to the Region Eight community.
Persaud and a team comprising Permanent Secretary Collin Croal and the Regional Executive Officer Ronald Harsawack held a walkabout the community to monitor its progress since the power plant had been put into operations five months ago.
In his address to the five-member board, comprising three Regional Democratic Council members and two businessmen, Persaud said that the power company was commissioned with high expectations from the community, which seemed pleased with the service. He commended the board for its system of maintenance that allows the community to benefit from 24-hour electricity service, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.
Although the board has been functioning, Persaud noted that it had not been properly constituted and had only met once; however, he asked Harsawack to meet with members before month end to rectify this situation.
The minister also asked that an inventory of the current beneficiaries of the service and a list of all the application for electricity service to be complied.
According to GINA, there are about 280 metered customers who receive the first 15 kilowatts of power free through a subsidy arrangement made with government, after which power plant charges them a minimum cost of $100 per kilowatt. Government also subsidises fuel for the plant’s operations and provides the board with duty-free letters that allows it to purchase fuel at a reduced cost either through the Guyana Power and Light or the Guyana Oil Company.
The plant operates two generating sets, a 600 KVA set and 350 KVA set.
When set to synchronise, the plant, which is computerised, determines the amount of power load needed. “In the day when the load is less, the small set will be working automatically and during 5:30pm to 6:00 pm, the computer will kick in the larger set to power, when the load becomes greater,” Harsawack explained. The machines are also monitored closely and after every 250 hours of service they are shut off to facilitate maintenance checks. Consumers are given notice prior to the engines being shutdown.
Supervisor at the MPL Collette Adams said the company receives an average monthly income of $6M to $7M and has operational costs of $4 to 5M. Prior to MPL’s operations, residents bought electricity from a private supplier, which operated for four hours per day. In October 2011, government invested $150M to establish the plant which serves the community by providing 24 hour electricity and employment.