Commercial sector adopting a culture of electricity theft – GPL
An increase of electricity theft in the commercial sector has been noted by Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) despite major monitoring efforts and an ongoing surveillance programme, according to GPL Chief Executive Officer, Bharrat Dindyal.
Some of the businesses in the commercial sector that are guilty of electricity theft include establishments that construct furniture, wood processing companies, ice companies, hotels, and fish processing companies.
Alluding to the fact that more stringent penalties are in place to deal with defaulters since the implementation of the Electricity
Sector Reform (Amendment) Bill 2010, Dindyal said the situation is growing at an alarming rate and persons and companies caught stealing electricity and facing conviction more than three times can be denied permanent service.
Underscoring that these companies also charge for their services, the CEO noted that GPL installs I-Tron meters for business entities but despite this, they use elaborate methods to steal electricity. However, there has been some degree of success, while law enforcement must also play their part in curbing the theft of electricity.
Noting that the situation is serious countrywide, Dindyal said some of the guilty parties seem to have what he termed “an endless supply of wire and ideas”.
However, the company stressed it was taking a number of steps to curb the theft of electricity, one of which is the use of a special type of meter – the Itron meter – that is being used for large consumers in a secure environment. In addition, for small customers, the company is offering the prepaid meter, which discourages consumers from accessing it with the intention of tampering.
Dindyal said the company will continue to work towards reducing both technical and commercial losses as it operates in an environment of high fuel prices.
According to the GPL, the power company will replace 15,000 main demand meters with minor meters, install 1,365 Itron meters and replace 9,000 defective meters among other measures.
Records reveal that 22 percent of the company’s losses are non-technical in nature and are largely as a result of electricity theft, faulty meters and deficiencies in the billing system, while electricity theft costs GPL $2B annually.
GPL is projecting to reduce losses by 12.275% over the next five years through a range of initiatives. 8.925% of the projected loss reduction will be non-technical while 3.35% will be technical. While major investments in Transmission and Distribution (T&D) will serve to reduce technical losses, increased demand will have the opposite effect and the projected 3.35% reduction must be viewed in this light, the company explained.