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Private Sector blasts Govt, GPL for blackout woes

first_img…questions Govt’s hydro policy…says manufacturing sector hampered by outagesAs Christmas draws closer, worry about power generation and the performance of the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) has caused the Private Sector Commission (PSC) to unleash it wrath on the power company.The PSC noted in a strongly worded statement issued on Friday that the frequent and sometimes unannounced power outages come without any credible explanation from GPL’s management, Board, or the responsible Minister, in this case Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson.“To add insult to injury, GPL recently, from 2nd September to 5th November 2017, announced a series of scheduled maintenance power cuts, which in Georgetown alone amounted to a total of 149 hours spread between 17 sections of the city.”In addition, power outages averaging about five hours each were scheduled for the Essequibo Coast, Berbice, East and West Bank Demerara, West Coast Demerara, Soesdyke and East Canje.The Commission said the average citizen does not have private generators, which could save any food being stored in freezers.The PSC said judging from GPL’s non-performance; the entity had neither the management nor the capacity to deliver a reliable power supply to the country. It also noted that Government has consistently failed to address this reality.Failed promisesGPL has for some time promised to bring an end to the chronic black outs. In fact, this assurance was given during a press conference in August by GPL Public Relations Officer Shevion Sears.Acknowledging the frequency of the power outages, Sears noted that a number of planned and unplanned maintenance exercises are responsible. She had cited locations which, due to these works, were having an adverse effect on the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS).But even though GPL promised to have these issues fixed, power outages are nowhere near dissipating. According to the PSC, Guyana’s commercial sector cannot continue in this vein.“Guyana’s manufacturing and commercial sectors cannot function in these circumstances and, in this day and age at the exorbitant price, that we are expected to pay for electricity, Guyana’s population should not be subjected to this punishment,” the PSC stated. “It is nothing short of a tragedy that with such immense hydroelectric potential (Guyana) should be made to tolerate this situation.”The Private Sector noted that the previous Government – the People’s Progressive Party – with support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and funding from Norway, negotiated a major American power company to build and operate the Amaila Falls Project. “Our current Government has put the project in cold storage while offering no acceptable alternative. So where do we go from here?” it queried.The Government after winning the 2015 election shut down any hope in resurrecting the Amaila Falls project. The Government of Norway, which has been providing funding over the years to Guyana for projects under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), had contracted consultancy firm Norconsult to conduct a review of the Amaila Falls project.The Norconsult report had in fact concluded that the Amaila Falls Hydropower project was the only realistic way for Guyana to achieve an emission free electricity sector. Norconsult had noted the merits of the project, such as its completed feasibility study and a higher plant load than the other alternatives.last_img read more