Private sector `deeply disturbed’ at proposed power tariff hike

The Private Sector Commission today said it was deeply disturbed at the proposed 26.7% hike in electricity rates and called on the government, GPL and the opposition to hold talks on restoring $5.2B in funding that was intended for key capital works.

The statement follows:

The Private Sector Commission is deeply concerned over the proposed 26.7% increase in rates of the Guyana Power and Light Company.

It is the contention of GPL that the purpose of this increase is to meet the immediate need for capital expenditure which will provide as an additional 26 mgw of generating capacity, an expanded integrated transmission network linking West and East Demerara and Demerara with Berbice, greatly strengthening the reliability of electrical supply in those areas and the deployment of an additional 28 feeders allowing an appreciable load reduction of the currently overloaded distribution system.

According to GPL this capital expenditure would have been otherwise sourced from international concessionary loan financing approximating $5.2 billion from Venezuela, China and the IDB had it not been cut from the 2013 budget.

We call upon the Government, GPL management and the Opposition to immediately institute talks aimed at a restoration of the $5.2 billion that was intended for these capital works.

We also call upon the Government, as shareholders of the company, to take whatever steps are necessary to avoid any increase in electricity charges at this time.  We can ill afford to have our economy contract at this point in time, especially with world commodity prices, upon which we depend, showing signs of declining.

The PSC is firmly of the view that an increase in charges for electricity would lead to tremendous hardship for the people of Guyana and would negate and outstrip the recent proposed increase in the minimum wage and the relief to workers afforded by the reduction in income taxes.  It would also slow down the economy at a time when our businesses can ill afford this and would increase the risk of rampant inflation.

This rate increase would also lead to a drastic decline in the competitiveness of our beleaguered manufacturing sector and would mean a cessation of operations for many of our struggling smaller businesses.

The PSC offers it’s availability to work with the government, GPL and the Parliamentary Opposition to resolve this matter in the interest of the country.


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