Acknowledging the power woes faced by Guyanese, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc.’s chief yesterday assured that the situation will improve as the company commissioned a substation on Mandela Avenue as part of a US$42 million ($8.4 billion) project.
The $8.4 billion project which was financed by the Exim Bank of China is expected to bring more power to the grid. Chief Executive Officer of GPL Bharat Dindyal, who gave a technical overview of the project, told attendees that he was pleased that the commissioning comes at a time when Guyanese would be celebrating during the Christmas season and demand in power is expected to rise. The project was funded by a loan from China’s Exim Bank.
Dindyal explained that the substation is part of GPL’s upgrades across the country and will see the company achieving technological integration in the daily running of the company’s power distribution sector. “This is the first time in almost 40 years that the distribution system has seen such transformation,” he said.
He outlined future plans for GPL saying that next year, extensive rehabilitation will start on the company’s distribution network and this will reduce not only technical losses but also power outages. “The performance of our network leaves a lot to be desired and we understand the level of irritation associated with power outages. As 2014 comes to a close, GPL has completed the integration of all its new facilities and…as 2015 dawns we look forward with great optimism to a much improved supply,” he asserted. Chairman of GPL’s Board Winston Brassington noted the importance of the sub-station explaining that it creates an integrated grid linking Berbice and Demerara so that now there is a 69KV line all the way from Skeldon in addition to an increase of over 62MW in power. Further, he pointed out that the substation will also make an important impact in the stabilization of voltage in the areas it serves.
Brassington stressed the importance of the project as he declared that that it is a pre-requisite for the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, because, in order to utilize the power from Amaila, there is the need for an integrated grid and a modern transmission system, all of which the project brings.
According to him, GPL has had a 77% increase in bill sales from 2003 to 2013 all due to the company’s upgrading mechanisms. For the same period, GPL was also able to bring down overall losses from 54% to 30% at present even as it tries to lower this figure.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who gave the feature address lamented the losses of the company and while he noted that GPL is working to reduce technical losses, said that much revenue loss came from persons stealing electricity.
Hinds, as he thanked the Chinese contractor China National Machinery Im-port and Export, for the work done, also pointed out that there have been many criticisms of government’s choice of the Chinese in their investments and works in Guyana.
However, he said, there was no bias as it was just that the Chinese have approached government the most and offered their input. “The Government of Guyana maintains an open door. We have no preferences.
We welcome investors and peoples from all countries wherever partnerships and alliances can be made for mutual benefits,” he said.
“Anyone who have remarked that we seem to favour China, it is not that we favour, it is the Chinese (who) have been coming so let’s get others coming and offering similar assistance to us,” Hinds added.