The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) says that it has done much to reduce non-technical losses (those associated with defective meters and theft) amidst continuous claims by the Alliance for Change (AFC) that the company’s losses in this regard remained constant for two years resulting in a $2.4 billion loss.
In the light of the barrage of claims made against GPL by the AFC, the company, by way of an advertisement in this week’s Sunday Stabroek, provided a detailed response to many of the criticisms.
Following the company’s proposal to raise electricity tariffs by 26.7%, the AFC has been very public in its disapproval of the decision and has offered several reasons why, in its view, the hike would not be justified.
Particularly on the issue of non-technical losses, the AFC said that “GPL did not reduce electricity theft, especially commercial theft which remained fixed for two years at 17.0%.” This, the party said, resulted in losses of over $2 billion.
GPL however, while conceding that non-technical losses of 17.1% and 17.05% were experienced in 2011 and 2012, said that it was not for the lack of investment of time, finances and effort in reducing such losses.
Detailing some of the efforts made to curb such losses, GPL stated that 14,201 of the estimated 49,000 defective meters were replaced between 2011 and 2012. On the issue of illegal connections, the company said that 11,258 illegal connections were removed resulting in 712 prosecutions. Of these prosecutions, 26 cases have since been concluded, 22 of which have ended in convictions.
Furthermore, the company said that it conducted 32,267 field investigations, all a testament to the work it continues to do to curb its technical losses.
The AFC also noted anticipated decreases in the price of fuel internationally as well as savings amounting to $1.5 billion which the company expected to save this year.
GPL however, explained that the $1.5 billion in savings, which equates to 28.8% of the amounts cut from its 2013 allocations ($5.2 billion) hinged on the anticipated deceased fuel prices. The company revealed too, that these savings are not guaranteed, especially in the light of the fact that the price of crude has risen, and may rise even more as a result of conflict occurring in the oil-producing nation of Syria.