The Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) encountered many challenges, but recorded some achievements in 2016. This was confirmed by Acting Chief Executive Officer of the company, Renford Homer.
Challenges outlined include unplanned power outages which occurred as a result of damage to the Vreed-en-Hoop power station, illegal connections which caused fires, fluctuation of fuel prices and employees striking for higher salary increases.
Guyana Power and Light’s, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Renford Homer
According to Homer, despite these challenges, the power company saw several achievements including construction of four substations and expansion of several others, the establishment of a Grid Code for utility scaled generation above 1.5 Megawatt for safe, secure and economic functioning of GPL’s system and a US$3M, 3 x 1.7 Megawatt Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) containerised generators to replace the two aged Wartsila units in Anna Regina among others.
The new units will also be incorporated into the planned Hybrid Power facility to utilise fossil fuel generation and electricity from a utility scaled five Megawatt renewable resources (solar energy), Homer stated.
During 2016, GPL also achieved the stringing of approximately 83 Kilometers of 69 Kilovolt (KV) lines which include a second transmission line between the Kingston generating facility and Sophia.
The power company also invested “approximately US$1.3M to procure, commission, and conduct preliminary works for 3 x 0.6 megawatt Light Fuel Oil (LFO) (diesel) fuel containerised generators to be commissioned in April 2017 at Bartica,” Homer highlighted.
These generators also integrated into the Hybrid Power facility to utilise fossil fuel generation and electricity from a utility scaled two Megawatt renewable resource (solar energy).
Homer said that the power company observed increased commercial usage of power due to the growth of customers within the past three to four years. The average growth of commercial customers was recorded at three percent.
“I have looked at the commercial statistics, and to do that, I have looked at 2015 and 2016, and what we are seeing is a customer growth from 2015 which is 181,678 to 184,788 customers,” Homer added.
Homer pointed out that GPL observed “cases of ingenious customers who kept their bills down” through schemes that result in non-payment of the energy consumption which resulted in significant loss reduction for the company. The acting CEO stressed that the law was amended in 2010 to avoid electricity theft, and encouraged citizens to abstain from such acts. Last year, the loss reduction department displayed no activity for two months which is deemed as an unusual performance that initiated an investigation.
The acting CEO further explained that the recommendations made at the conclusion of the investigation will be applied and adapted in 2017. He added that the loss reduction department is also expected to experience a series of changes through the Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP), this year.
“We expect to see approximately 250 km of low voltage cable being strung; right sizing of transformers, some replacement of transformers, and we also expect to replace 21,000 meters,” the CEO added.
Homer pointed out that the execution of the low voltage rehabilitation programme under the PUUP, alongside GPL’s work programme will assist in reducing the total losses by two percent, which is the ideal aim of the power company for 2017.