The Public Utilities Commission must act within the parameters of Act 10, 1999

Dear Editor,

From the onset, permit us to state that it is not the policy of the Public Utilities Commission to respond to articles or letters published in the media, as some concerns and/or issues are directly within the purview of the utility in question. However in the interest of all consumers the commission has made an exception with respect to the queries raised by Mr Louis Holder (‘Is the Public Utilities Commission aware of its function?’ SN, August 11). The commission is a creature of statute and as such it must operate within the parameters of the Public Utilities Commission Act, Act 10 of 1999, which is the relevant legislation governing the sector and the respective licences which are issued to the public utilities under the commission’s regulatory oversight. Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) is governed under the Electricity Sector Reform Act (ESRA), Act 11 of 1999 and GPL’s tariffs are reviewed annually in keeping with the provisions of its licence.

As it relates to the enquiry regarding the company’s rate of return, this is fixed by the company’s licence. This rate of return varies annually depending on the mix of debt and equity capital and the interest paid on debt capital. Over the past years GPL’s annual rates of return have averaged approximately six per cent and this return is consistent with the terms of its licence. Fuel which is critical to GPL’s operations represents approximately 38% of the company’s total cost for the year ended December 31, 2016. Fuel prices are reviewed quarterly by the commission as required by the company’s licence. It should be noted that in 2015 and 2016 as a result of the steep reduction in the acquisition cost of fuel, consumers received a fuel rebate of 10% on their energy tariffs in 2015 and a further 5% in 2016.

GPL in its rolling five year Development and Expansion Programme sets out its plans to reduce system losses. This plan is approved by the subject Minister. Annually GPL reports to the commission at a hearing on its performance on eight standards. One of the standards includes system losses. Failure to achieve these standards may result in the company being sanctioned by the commission.

Redundancy is the process of the provisioning of a parallel service that ensures if a failure occurs an alternative service is triggered. This is to ensure that the service is maintained in a seamless manner.

If Mr Holder or any other consumer is dissatisfied with any issues relating to billing, we would invite that consumer to visit our George-town office at Lot 106 New Garden Street, Queenstown, or our Berbice Office at Lot AV Freeyard, Port Mourant or call us on 226-7042 or 336-6077 respectively. Alternatively, please visit our website at www.puc.org.gy. Click on the ‘consumer assistance’ tab, download a complaints’ form and submit same in accordance with the instructions contained therein.

Yours faithfully,

Cheryl Campbell

For Public Utilities Commission

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