Deficit in technical human capacity causing GPL operational challenges – Pres. Ali

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said the human technical capacity of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) company is currently facing a deficit, which is causing operational deficiencies.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, President Ali said there is an urgency to fill up these vacancies and if there continues to be a shortage of technical experts domestically, the government will look to recruit foreign technical support.

“We recognise that there is a human resource gap and that has to be fixed. We have to get more engineers, more technicians, more linesmen urgently, because of the demand in the system, because of the use of the system,” the head of state explained.

He emphasised that several factors, including the exponential growth in demand for electricity, aged infrastructure and assets, and the lack of redundancy in transmission, are contributing to the company’s shortcomings.

Currently, there is a demand for 220 megawatts of power, but the GPL is only generating 165 megawatts at peak hours.

“All of these are being dealt with in a bundle, because one affects the other. We’re working now on ensuring that we find the appropriate mechanism to efficiently bridge the gap in demand whilst we wait [for] the new power plant from the gas to shore,” he stated.

The government has also initiated discussions with UK Export Finance (UKEF) to explore financing for the completion of a new transmission line headed towards Linden and will finance on its own the upgrading of the existing transmission.

In late December 2023, 76 containers with engines, totaling 28.9 MW, along with radiators, fuel, and lube oil separators arrived on Guyana’s shores.

These containers were immediately transported to the Columbia East Coast Demerara sub-station for installation. The remaining power, amounting to over 10 megawatts, is expected to come on stream in the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, President Ali engaged with Power Producers and Distributors Incorporated (PPDI) and Wartsila, the two companies that work alongside GPL to supply power through Guyana’s main power grid, the Demerara Berbice Interconnected System.

The head of state expressed his dissatisfaction with their performance during the meeting and urged them to explore alternative power supply options until the multi-billion gas-to-energy plant being developed in Wales, Region Three, is fully operational.

When completed, the plant is projected to provide about 300 megawatts of power, which will significantly improve the efficiency of GPL’s operations.