The joke of the century must be GPL’s request for a 19.5 percent tariff increase after recording a massive $4.4 billion loss last year, with a projected loss of $5.6B if the tariff increase is not approved.
And to suggest that this increase will not be passed on to the already overtaxed consumers is downright insulting. Because even if government subsidizes the cost of fuel, it is the taxpayers’ money that will be paying the subsidy.
When a government fails to meet its obligations to its people, it is voted out of office. The captain or manager of a sports team is replaced if that team fails to perform. The same should apply to the disaster known as Guyana Power and Light -GPL.
For some unknown reason, the people in charge of running down this state-owned power company have been allowed to remain in office despite the very poor performance of this vital utility over the years.
Had GPL been their own personal business, they would have been bankrupted a long time ago. It is time for a major shakeup at GPL to rid consumers of the gross incompetence they’re paying for.
In my previous letter, I had identified one corrupted GPL manager in the Lost Reduction Unit whose kickbacks on his corrupted activities earns him much more than his monthly salary. But this is just one example, a mere drop in the bucket. GPL is infested with unscrupulous and irresponsible senior employees who are causing the industry to lose billions in revenue, and Chairman Winston Brassington has the cojones to blame it all on rising fuel cost.
Corruption is not a pastime at GPL, it is a trend.
January 1, 2011: Kajeteur News publisher Glenn Lall questioned GPL engineers’ estimate for the construction of the foundation for the 15.6MW Wartsila Generation Plant at Kingston.
When it was disclosed that the $120.8 million estimate was double the projected cost of construction, Dindyal defended his engineer’s absurd overpricing by stating that the estimate was done using factors that are no longer applicable.
This apparently was not the first time this engineer had done such erroneous estimates, prompting the Kaieteur News publisher to call for his resignation, or be fired forthwith.
But according to the Kaieteur News report, “Dindyal said that he would not want to fault the engineer’s estimate since the man used factors that may not be relevant today but which were applicable to other foundations.
He added that the previous foundations influenced the relatively high engineer’s estimate.” How preposterous! This engineer is either grossly incompetent, or he was setting up a nice payday for himself if he happened to be part of the decision making body to determine who gets the contract.
Then in a letter, “GPL could have saved US$3M on Wartsila generators” (KN, January 7, 2011), Tony Vieira declared that GPL Chairman Winston Brassington; CEO Bharat Dindyal; and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds all had knowledge of an email sent to them by one Sunil Bakshi, a Wartsila representative in Florida, and President of Power and Energy Works LLC.
In his email, he offered to provide GPL with a brand new 15.36 megawatts Wartsila generator for US$15 million.
That’s three million US dollars less than the US$18 million that GPL eventually paid for the identical 15.36 megawatts Wartsila generator from another source.
Tony Vieira wrote, “Guyana Power and Light is quick to accuse the poor people in this country of thieving electricity, specifically Sophia, and that they claim is what is keeping the rates of GPL so high and unaffordable to the poor. My contention is that there is indeed thieving, but it is happening right there at GPL at all levels of management.”
Both Brassington and Dindyal had promised Kaieteur News an explanation with regards to their decision to purchase these generators at the more expensive price, but I must have missed that one if the explanation was ever given.
But on September 27, 2011 at the commissioning of these US$18.4M generators, Chairman Winston Brassington disclosed, “By way of comparison, in 2007, GPL’s fuel mix was derived 52 percent from Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and 48 percent from diesel.
Last year, this was 80 percent HFO and 20 percent diesel, largely due to the 2009 Wartsila plant and the Guysuco Wartsila 10 MW HFO plant commissioned a year earlier….GPL as a result is making huge savings on its fuel bill which could have potentially been as much as US$25M higher.
Subject to fuel prices, these savings should expand—next year, GPL fuel mix should exceed 90 percent HFO.” Well Mr. Brassington, we’re now in “next year”, and instead of showing a savings as you indicated, GPL is reporting a staggering $4.4 billion loss due to “rising fuel prices.”
How is this possible when just over four months ago, he told us that the new Wartsila engines are using Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) which is cheaper than the traditional diesel, and projected that by 2012, “GPL fuel mix should exceed 90 percent HFO.”
Was Brassington not aware when he made that statement, that GPL was losing $4.4 billion? And this guy is the Chairman of GPL? No wonder corruption is running amok right under his nose, this is gross incompetence.
The Government of Guyana (GOG) should deny GPL the 19.5 percent tariff increase they’re asking. The more money they get, the more will be lost through corruption. Instead, the GOG should force both Brassington and Dindyal to earn the fat salaries they’re making.
Let them clean house; do whatever it takes to identify and prosecute rogue employees that are taking cutbacks from tampering cases; send out a special team to inspect meters given to new accounts to ensure they’re not set to read low consumption, and hold the manager and technicians accountable if those meters have been tampered with.
Get an independent audit done to determine how taxpayers’ money is being spent. For the Government of Guyana must not encourage nor reward incompetence. Certainly not at the expense of its citizens.
If the Chairman and CEO of GPL are unable to show a profit with all the subsidies they’ve been getting from the government over the years, then maybe it’s time to replace these failures, or privatize the industry.
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