Ongoing upgrade works to reduce GPL losses – Director

With the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) falling short of its target for losses last year, Divisional Director of Loss Reduction Parsram Persaud has projected better results this year due to ongoing network upgrade works that have already yielded positive results.

Persaud made the disclosure while presenting the statistics on loss reduction at the power company’s annual presentation of its Operating Standards and Performance Targets to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last month.

The company was only able to contain its losses to 29.5% for 2017, as compared to its 2016 achievement of 29.2%, which was the same in 2015. Its target for 2017 was 27.6%.

Persaud, who explained that the 1.9% difference between the target and achievement represents a US$2 million value, said the company’s inability to reach its set target was mainly due to the lack of materials to conduct its upgrade programmes.

“So, losses continue to be one of our key challenges at GPL. As mentioned by some of my colleagues before, we were faced with a number of constraints in 2017, typically with materials and the shortage of meters to replace our defective meters and shortage of cables. Those are some of the things that affected the work that we had planned in 2017,” Persaud said.

He explained that the delay in the implementation of the Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP) also affected the company’s performance in achieving the set target.

He noted that the initial schedule for the programme was supposed to feature works being carried out, including network upgrade of over 300 km of secondary network as well as meter installation and replacements but they were unable to get the planned works started.

“However, this year, we are very optimistic that we can get a far way in terms of reducing losses. A lot of things are on our side this particular year,” Persaud said, while pointing out that the power company was able to fix its inventory issue and progress should be made in implementing the PUUP. He also noted that since the beginning of the year, the programme has started and improvements can be noticed in some areas.

“Networks have already begun to be improved that started at the end of 2017—somewhere late in December. So, we will see that continue this year. So, we will see a reduction of losses and we are very optimistic,” Persaud said, while adding that the 2018 target of 27.1% should be achievable when they complete all of their works for the year.

He added that there is a revised procurement policy that enables the management of GPL to procure materials faster.

As a result, with the PUUP, some 20,000 old and defective meters are expected to be replaced by more technologically advanced ones that will help the company isolate problems.

“We have intensified our investigation programme so there is a comprehensive field audit on all maximum demand customers and small businesses. So we are doing much more detail investigations and as a matter of fact we have much more skilled people to use the software and interface with the meters so we can interpret the meter logs which tell us of instances of theft and many other things like power quality,” he said, before adding that they also intend to do more complete site analyses for larger customers.

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