Guyana to hire Cuban engineers to stabilise electricity sector

Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2024, 21:59 by Writer

President Irfaan Ali on Friday announced that government has turned to Cuba for engineers to help manage the Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) electricity system.

He said government has approved GPL’s hiring of 10 additional engineers with the “relevant skills” to ensure maintenance and reliability of the system.

“They have very skilled technical personnel who they are willing to deploy immediately to work in the system and to help us technically,” Dr Ali said shortly after meeting with Cuba’s Ambassador to Guyana, Jorge Francisco Soberon Luis.

Dr Ali said GPL has sought “many times” to hire Guyanese engineers but “we have not been successful  because of demand in other areas.”

The President said when the 36 megawatt electricity generation ship is hooked up to GPL’s Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS), business and housing developments mean that even more electricity would be needed. The deal was struck with UCC Holdings for the deployment of the barge from the Turkey-based Karpowership.

“Whilst this facility will come in place, based on what we’re seeing, based on the projections, we have to go after more power but this facility gives us that room to make the investments in the aged infrastructure that we have to ensure that that infrastructure is brought on stream to support the demand for energy,” he said in a statement.

He cited the growing number of housing and hotel developments as well as electricity theft and the inheritance of a “broken system” from the now opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)-led administration. APNU+AFC has denied that claim and has instead blamed the People’s Progressive Party Civic-led government for poor management, bad investments and a brain-drain.

The President noted that the Guyana government was subsidising the cost of Bunker C fuel for GPL which had been calculated at a cost of US$75 per barrel but which now costs between US$100 and US$175 per barrel. “None of that cost is being passed on to the consumer and we have no intention of passing it on,” he said.

The Guyanese leader referred to government’s long-term plan of building the 165 megawatt Amaila Falls Hydropower Station and the completion of the 300 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.