Opposition veto of subvention will put employees on breadline – energy agency

The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) says the combined Parliamentary Opposition’s voting down of the budgetary allocations for the Office of the President Administrative Services line item has affected its work programme for the year and will put employees on the breadline.

The non-approved line item includes the $73.5M budget allocation for the GEA and other subvention agencies, the agency said in a press release. An additional $10 million which was requested for capital expenditure towards the cost of extending the building to create additional office space for GEA’s employees, was included in the Office of the President’s capital allocation which was also not approved at the April 15 meeting.

The GEA’s recurrent budgeted expenditure for 2014 is $119.101 million (excluding the $10 million capital expenditure for the extension of the current office space). Of the said amount, the agency only needed $73.5M as the remaining $44.546M will be generated from revenue received for agency and licensing fees.

Of the $119.101 million budgeted expenditure, $76.264 million is allocated to employment cost therefore the $73.5 million subvention that was requested was the employment costs for 33 employees, the GEA said. “With no finances to pay salaries the future of the staff is bleak and uncertain,” the agency said, adding that some staff members have already started to worry about meeting their needs.

The GEA says it expects that the non-approval of its subvention will have a number of adverse effects on its 2014 agenda including interaction with refineries to ensure the timely delivery and availability of imported fuels this year as plans were in train to source options for extra-regional supplies due to the supply shortfalls experienced in 2013. The agency had also planned to give attention to hydro-power and oversight was to be continued along with exploring options for the run-of-the-river micro hydropower potential. A feasibility study was also planned on the Kumu Falls in Region Nine to establish the hydropower potential and costs for development. Plans to continue to promote the use of renewable energy and to explore financing options for a 10kW grid feed-in system and a 20kW biomass-based power generator at suitable locations will also have to be shelved, the agency said. A review of the grid feed-in mechanisms to determine applicability to Guyana was also planned. The GEA also expected to continue to review, assess and monitor wind speeds to identify promising sites for wind energy applications.

With support from the Ministry of Public Works, 920 defective photo-sensors on street lights were replaced as part of GEA’s efforts to conserve energy by ensuring street lights are turned off during daylight hours. The efforts in 2013 translated into annual energy savings of about $56 million. As part of a demonstration project in 2014, the GEA intended to install 40 LED street lamps to replace existing 250Watt high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps with 60 Watt LED lamps that would have resulted in an estimated annual savings of about $1.7M.





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