Management changes for electricity sector- Jagdeo

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 April 2024, 21:15 by Denis Chabrol

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday hinted that the state-run electricity sector could face a management shake-up, even as the government searches for more electricity generators to bridge the demand gap ahead of the completion of the 300 megawatt  natural gas-fired electricity plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.

“We have to fix it. Whatever it takes, we can’t continue with these blackouts; whether it means management changes, upgrading management, buying more power which we are looking at now to take us past the period when the new power plant comes in next year…,” he said.

Mr Jagdeo was much more pointed than President Irfaan Ali concerning staff changes in the government-run electricity sector- Guyana Power and Light and Power Producers and Distributors Inc.

For his part, when asked whether there would be a management shake-up at those electricity entities, he said “there will be tremendous technical support that will come.” He confirmed that the Dominican Republic-headquartered InterEnergy Group (IEG), with which GPL signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year to provide support, is “in the equation.”

Dr Ali on Wednesday shied away from acknowledging that there would be managerial changes. Instead, he said the urgent search was ongoing for technical personnel-engineers, technicians, linesmen- to tackle expanded demand and transmission and distribution.  Dr Ali said if the required personnel was unavailable in Guyana, they would be brought in. “They are going out again to try to get technical people. They’ve been advertising. They are not getting locally. If we don’t get locally, then we have to bring in technical support,” he said.

The President described GPL’s equipment as “very aged infrastructure” a number of which is 30 years old, no maintenance between 2015 and 2020 and “exponential growth” in demand. With projected new demand for 2024 pegged at 35 megawatts expected to take total demand to 220 megawatts.  Aside from inefficiencies, he said 165 megawatts were being generated but the peak demand was not being met.

Four generators at Kingston, Georgetown, he said, went down in recent days but that was expected to change with more generating capscity expected to be added to the grid in the coming days.

Mr David Patterson, former Minister of Public Infrastructure under the APNU+AFC administration, on Thursday said GPL’s 2015 – 2020 performance shows that more than 60 megawatts of electricity “were procured under the coalition within four years, which is a clear indication that the Coalition was aware of our increasing power demand and made adequate provisions to address these needs.” He added that under the Public Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP), 404 kilometres of low and medium voltage network were upgraded, 231
new transformers and 23,493 new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters were installed.