APNU will not be allowed to rewrite its sordid mismanagement of the electricity sector – Snr Finance Minister

– Gov’t committed to delivering solutions to the people

The government has made it clear that it will not engage in a blame game or allow the APNU/AFC coalition to alter the fact that the electricity sector deteriorated under its tenure.

This is even as the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) company’s efficiency and reliability continue to be challenged.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh gave a detailed summary of how the electricity sector was managed by various governments.

“Our interest is not in assigning blame…The APNU/AFC and their surrogates and agents continue to try to rewrite the history of the sector and I want to say, unequivocally, that this Peoples Progressive Party government, under the leadership of President Ali, will not allow the APNU/AFC to rewrite their sordid history of mismanagement,” Dr Singh expressed.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh

In his presentation, Dr Singh covered the period from 2008 to 2014 under the previous PPP/C Administration, from 2015 to 2020 under APNU/AFC, and the current government, from 2020 to the end of 2023.

The minister refuted the claim that the electricity sector performed well under the coalition, clarifying that the previous PPP/C administration purchased 76.9 megawatts of brand-new generating capacity, which was inherited by the coalition in 2015.

“We knew that there were new investments coming into Guyana, the economy was growing, there were new housing schemes being developed…we knew there was going to be a growth in demand,” the finance minister explained.

Additionally, Dr Singh said, around 70MW of power was installed in the Demerara-Berbice Integrated System from 2008 to 2014 when compared to a meagre 8MW by the coalition.

Moreover, a paltry 5.4MW at Anna Regina, 3.3MW in Bartica and 5.5MW at Cane Field were installed, representing 14.2MW of power being installed in five years.

This was the situation that the current PPP/C administration inherited, compounded with the fact that the sector was left in shambles, with no investments in maintaining and expanding the transmission and distribution network.

Notwithstanding that, the government after four months in office, installed 9.6MW of emergency power at Cane Field, Onvergwagt and Sophia to sustain the growth in demand.

“Notwithstanding their public pronouncements to the contrary, they did not install 46.5MW of power…They only scrambled when they lost the no-confidence motion, recognising the electricity sector was in total collapsed,” he further revealed, noting that the generators were still in Finland, waiting to be shipped.

In 2021, 46.5MW of power was finally installed, increasing the generating capacity at the Garden of Eden power plant and 6MW were installed at Onverwagt.

An additional 28.9MW of power was also purchased by the government and is being installed at Colombia, Mahaicony sub-station; already 19.2MW is onstream.

On Friday evening, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali announced that the government is in the process of arranging for a power ship to supply more than 35MW of power to the grid. This move will bring the total amount of power added to the grid by the PPP/C government to 127 MW since 2020.

“On top of that, it would be remiss of me not to mention that we would have had another 165MW of power from Amalia, currently supplying the network, had the very APNU/AFC not derailed Amalia,” he lamented, pointing out that there were no alternatives offered by the coalition to replace this viable project.

Dr Singh acknowledged that the frequent power outages are unacceptable but also emphasized that the government is fully committed to addressing this issue and finding effective solutions that will benefit the people.

“We find it unacceptable and our energies really are focused on delivering solutions…we want to focus our energies on delivering solutions and that is what we are doing,” he underscored.

GPL is currently facing a multitude of complex challenges including the steady growth in demand, technical and non-technical losses, lack of redundancy in generation, increased construction activities and a severe technical deficit in the human resource capacity at GPL and its partners.

At the end of 2023, GPL recorded 227,067 customers representing a growth in customers of 49,000, inclusive of commercial and industrial consumers.

As part of the government’s efforts to improve the electricity sector, in 2025, an additional 300 megawatts (MW) are expected to be added to the national grid, once the much-anticipated Gas to Energy Project at Wales, West Bank Demerara (WBD) comes on stream.

The Amalia Falls Hydropower Project, a commitment in its 2020 manifesto, is also onstream as bids are currently being evaluated. 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.

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