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GPL board gets ready to purchase power from Gifltand, but Giftland boss says that’s lip service

As Guyanese businesses and residents in Demerara and Berbice brace themselves for more blackouts, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) says it is getting ready to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Giftland Mall, but that company’s boss, Roy Beepat, believes this is yet another stunt.

“They are only coming out now because of the crisis and it makes it look like they are doing their job,” Beepat told News-Talk Radio/Demerara Waves Online News.

Beepat says he last heard from GPL more than one month ago.

GPL on Thursday said its Board of Directors has mandated management to ensure that all the regulations and laws are complied with aimed at eventually inking a PPA with MCG Investments, also known as Giftland Mall.

“In furtherance of its consideration, the Board authorised GPL to move forward efforts to finalize a PPA Agreement with MCG Investments Inc. that met the needs and interests of the Company. The Board also instructed GPL Inc. to ensure all of the legal and regulatory modalities were satisfied,” the power company said.

The GPL said it was also urging other prospective producers-suppliers to get on board. “Whilst the legal and regulatory modalities are being completed, the Board also authorised GPL Inc. to commence inviting Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from other potential power providers with immediately available generation capacity who may be interested in supplying electricity to GPL Inc;” GPL said.

GPL made known its position one day after informing Guyanese in the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System that they would have to brace themselves for more power outages in the coming days because of a 23 megawatt shortfall.

Beepat said the board and management know that GPL could not buy power from private producers unless it is from a renewable source and the producer is generating more than 10MW. He said from his understanding, Cabinet and the subject minister could grant a waiver, although the National Assembly is not in session at the moment.

Beepat bemoaned the failure of GPL to sign on the dotted line after more than one year. He said Giftland was prepared to sell power generated by its Heavy Fuel Oil generators, at 20 percent per kilowatt hour or 50 percent less than what the Garden of Eden Power Station is producing power with its diesel generators.

He said GPL’s Board had asked management to justify the need to purchase power from private producers.

The well-known city businessman warned government and the power company that blackouts would have serious implications for the David Granger-led coalition government at the upcoming general elections. “When the man in the street has to come out and vote in blackout, they will know the consequences,” Beepat said.