Over the past few months, there have been increasing concerns about the inefficient and unreliable services offered by the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) to residents in Berbice, Bartica, Georgetown and Essequibo.
The situation has further deteriorated in the recent past with the increasing number and duration of unscheduled and scheduled blackouts and load-shedding which have not only affected the livelihoods of ordinary taxpaying citizens who have lost valuable household appliances, but has also led to the loss of millions of dollars for private sector businesses who have lost valuable equipment and income.
Therefore, as a Member of Parliament with sectoral responsibility for public infrastructure, I wish to urge the Public Utilities Commission to launch an immediate investigation into the following as regards GPL:
1) The reasons for these lengthy and unbearable power outages across the country
2) What immediate and long term plans GPL has for remedying the situation which is reaching crisis levels in light of the secret deal negotiated by the government with respect to the wind-farm project to provide additional electricity to the grid
3) The rationale behind GPL’s failure to reduce service rates despite the continued downward trajectory of fuel prices on the world market.
Such an investigation is necessary in light of the PUC’s obligations to the people of this country as outlined in the Public Utilities Act of 1997. That act mandates the PUC according to Chapters 25:01 subsection 22 (a) through (f) to ensure that it investigates and regulates the overall quality of service provided by public utilities with the objective of ensuring that the highest standards are met.
Similarly, there has been an understandable outcry on the part of commercial and residential customers about the atrocious quality of service offered by GTT as far as providing continuous and reliable internet and mobile data services and connectivity.
In both the case of GTT and GPL customers have lobbied the government to do more to ensure that these companies improve the quality of the services that they are offering. Their pleas and cries have seemingly been met with indifference by those responsible for holding these public utilities accountable.
It is also necessary for those responsible at the level of the executive to demand that these companies adhere to the terms and conditions outlined in their licence agreements or face possible sanctions as prescribed by law.
Bishop Juan Edghill, MP