The Alliance For Change today said that the proposed hike in electricity rates by the state-owned GPL must be vigorously resisted by the Guyanese people and it called on the utilities body to fully probe the tariff increase application and hear other stakeholders on it.
In a statement following Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) announcement on Saturday that it had filed an application to increase tariffs by 26.7% effective from last month and that the company’s Board of Directors was already planning its implementation, the AFC berated the government and GPL over their performance in the power sector over the last 20 years.
“In excess of 20 years in office the PPP Government has consistently failed to provide reliable electricity to this nation.
“Even after spending billions every year through loans and prohibitively high prices on new generating capacity, it is vividly clear that the Government has no solution in sight in the context of its statutory duty to provide electricity at an affordable cost.
“With abundant alternative sources of energy in this tropical land of ours in terms of wind, solar and hydro potential, the Guyanese people continue to suffer hourly blackouts with repeated adverse effects on homeowners’ appliances and goods, business-owners’ production equipment and school children’s education”, the AFC declared.
It said this sad state of affairs prevails after 20 years when progress has been made by much smaller and resource-poor places like St Kitts.
“The PPP has no excuses other that its gross incompetence and corruption. It has handled GPL just like it has handled the sugar sector and the NIS bringing all three to a state of bankruptcy”, the AFC, the third party in Parliament said.
The AFC said GPL’s Board of Directors have yet to devise a turnaround plan after so many years in Office.
“In fact were they in the Private sector or in a state entity in any other country, they would have long been fired for incompetence. First to go would have been its Chairman, Winston Brassington. But their loyalty to known PPP powers give them a licence to pass on their inefficiencies to an already heavily burdened taxpayer. The AFC is demanding that the entire Board be replaced with competent and independent professionals.
“Whatever is keeping Mr Brassington and his team at GPL in the face of chronic failure and incompetence, apparently good for the PPP power-brokers, have broken the tolerance limit of all in Guyana”, the AFC said.
The party is demanding that the Public Utilities Commission fully probe GPL’s call for this rate hike and hear other stakeholders interested in the matter before it ratifies any increases by GPL.
The AFC also warned the PPP Government, “that this highly ill-advised and unjustified act on the part of GPL, will be provoking huge national unrest.”
The GPL move comes in the aftermath of the opposition cut of $5.2B of its subsidy in the 2013 budget. Both the government and GPL had then argued that this would force tariff increases and other changes at GPL.
GPL, in its statement on Saturday said that on May 15, the company submitted its Final Return Certificate to the Public Utilities Commission for the increase. “GPL regrets that as a result of funding denied to them, it has no other option but to move in the direction to raise revenue to remain financially viable,” it said.