GPL’s performance is “atrocious” – Jagdeo says challenges include old equipment, increased power demand

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo today sought to sympathise with Guyanese who are affected by the frequent power outages as he disclosed that the government is seeking to purchase an additional 40 to 80 megawatts of power for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. to offset increasing demands.

Jagdeo, during his weekly press briefing at the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Freedom House Headquarters said, “the situation is bad. There is no sugarcoating this.”

Acknowledging that explanations have been repeatedly provided to the affected citizens, he added: “We are not going to say people are not justified in the harsh comments they make because we feel it ourselves because we live here and we are consumers.”

He said the current peak demand for electricity is at 180 megawatts while the State company’s capacity is at 165 megawatts. “Yes, the performance of GPL is atrocious in many cases but also we are dealing with a real fact, growth demand and old equipment,” Jagdeo pointed out.

In fact, he highlighted the increased usage of air conditioning units locally. “What has happened is that the demand here has grown. Now anyone in Guyana would understand the growth in demand.”

“You just look at the housing schemes, more houses, air conditioned houses, more people are getting more money and they’re putting in AC, you have a number of businesses opening up, oil and gas projects, hotels, etc., and they are utilising significantly more power, so our demand has grown but we are still limping along with [some] old equipment.”

To address the issue in the short term, the Vice President said efforts are underway to purchase 40 to 80 megawatts of power for a period of two years until the Gas to Energy project comes onstream.

He noted that solar panels are also being used in the hinterland and other areas to increase the generation of electricity in those areas.

The Gas to Energy project involves the transportation of natural gas from the Stabroek Block’s Liza oilfield offshore Guyana to an integrated gas processing facility at Wales, on the West Bank of Demerara.

The project is set to come onstream next year.