There are inconsistencies between the Brassington and Sithe slides presented at July 31 stakeholders’ meeting

Dear Editor,

I have now looked at the 21 slides of Mr Winston Brassington and the 33 slides from Sithe Global that were projected at the second National Stakeholders’ meeting on 31 July at the National Convention Centre. They raise many questions about inconsistencies between slides, plus the inconsistencies between the Brassington vs Sithe slides.  Brassington says US$80 million equity from Government of Guyana, Sithe is budgeting on US$100 million.  Brassington’s various slides on the costs of generating the power via GPL thermoelectric and via Amaila Falls also use a variety of unexplained figures.  The President, ministers and AFHI/NICIL are not expressing clearly and with a single set of figures the cost of petroleum fuel to GPL for thermo-electric generation, the total cost of thermo-electric generation, the various tariffs actually charged to GPL customers, the government subsidy to GPL, the charges invoiced using these tariffs after allowing for subsidy, and the amounts actually received by GPL.  Instead of using a variety of units, these factors should all be expressed in US cents per kilowatt-hour, as Winston Brassington has mostly tried to do.

None of the three presenters on 31 July addressed the danger of high reliance on a single generator for the bulk of Guyana’s power, if/when the turbines are shut because of low water in the dam reservoir (caused by drought or leakage) or because of damage to the turbines.  Sithe suggested a reduction from four turbines to one turbine to save water but did not say what effect this would have on the electricity supplied to GPL.

No provision was described for depreciation costs of the dam or turbines or transmission line, etc.  No explanation is proffered for the dam being too small for projected coastland demand for power by 2017, let alone for the 20-year BOOT period following 2017.  No mention was made of the phases 2 and 3 of the Amaila Falls dam, which are discussed briefly in the ESIA still accessible on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency.

No explanation of the currency exchange rates used or expected, and whether it is the rate for US$ or Yuan which is critical, or both; Sithe referred to US dollars but Winston Brassington referred to Chinese currency.

Notably, there has been no explanation for the late disclosure of hitherto unexplained extra costs in tens of millions of dollars.  Why have we not heard of these before, in this public-private partnership?

What is the relevance of estimating average figures for the delivery of power over the lifetime of the BOOT period, without addressing supply during the blackouts when there is no power coming from Amaila?  It is the blackouts which concern consumers of power, not the average AFHI and GPL performances.  How are Guyanese going to get their beer and rum when the breweries are shut after being forced back onto GPL’s grid with no guarantee of sustained power?

How is GPL going to pay for the continued availability of stand-by thermo-electric power generation while also paying off Sithe and China Development Bank and IDB and the insurance companies, as well as its own ginormous current debt?

APNU and AFC would be negligent if these questions and other gaps are not asked or answered.  I wish to register my protest at the arrogance of the government and Sithe in not bothering to put together coherent presentations while demanding public approval of a spend of US$858 million.

It is entirely appropriate for the National Assembly, and all parliamentarians, to consider carefully the massive long-term debts which the government wishes to contract in respect of the energy sector but without apparently having a strategic view.

Yours faithfully,
Janette Bulkan

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