Gov’t committed to fixing electricity woes with clear plan – GS Jagdeo

Acknowledging the disruptive impact of the recurrent power outages, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, (PPP), Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, assured Guyanese that the government is determined to address the country’s electricity problems.

Speaking at his weekly press conference at Freedom House on Thursday, Dr Jagdeo said that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is grappling with a range of issues, including aged infrastructure, and this has greatly contributed to the generation shortfalls.

Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) General Secretary Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

“The situation is bad. There is no sugarcoating this. We have a situation at GPL that we have explained 100 times before. But often, explanations don’t soothe people when the light goes off, because it disrupts their lifestyle, their normal activities…I understand the feeling there,” he said.

However, the GS assured that the government has a clear plan to address this challenge in both the long and short term.

He added that since assuming office, the government has purchased approximately 40 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

“Right now, we are looking to buy maybe another 40 to 80 megawatts of power. We are already in the process of doing this. We will have it for two years until the Gas to Energy project comes,” the GS told media operatives.

Next year, an additional 300 megawatts (MWp) are expected to be added to the national grid, once the much-anticipated Gas to Energy Project at Wales, West Bank Demerara (WBD) comes onstream.

He also pointed to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. The government had pledged to resuscitate the programme in its 2020 manifesto. Bids were opened last year for proposals under the BOOT model, which includes the construction of a hydro dam, transmission lines from Amaila to Linden, and sub-stations at the Amalia site.

These proposals are currently being evaluated.

The project, which is the brainchild of the previous PPP/C government, is expected to deliver an estimated 165 megawatts of power.

“We are fixing the T&D [transmission and distribution] systems, and we are going back to Amaila because we want to have a different energy mix and a cleaner source of energy. We are putting in 35 megawatts of solar panels now,” the GS added.

Recently, a US$83M contract was signed for the installation of solar farms in Regions Two, Five, and Six. This project will install 18MWp of Solar PV farms – 10MWp in Berbice and 8MWp in Essequibo, and another 15MWp is scheduled to be procured later this year.

In addition to this, the GS pointed to the rapidly expanding Solar Home Systems Project, which delivers solar photovoltaic units to households in Amerindian communities, empowering them with greater access to clean, reliable energy.

On Tuesday, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali highlighted a shortage of technical personnel at GPL, which also contributes to the current challenges.

Challenges, the President said, which are being addressed.

According to President Ali, the government is already engaging UK Export Finance to explore financing options for transmission upgrades.

COVID-19 Notice: Due to the pandemic some consular services will be conducted by registered mail until further notice. Learn more