Jun 15, 2013 News
…IDB review finds company woefully lacking qualified, experienced personnel
Although theUS$42M upgrade to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) distribution network is some 70 per cent complete, this is yet to translate into any substantial reduction in technical losses.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Power Company, Bharrat Dindyal, said that the only area that any reduction has been achieved has been on the West Coast of Demerara. He said that on WCD, substations have been deployed at Vreed-en-hoop and Edinburg “and those are having an impact on the west coast alone.
According to Dindyal, with the massive programmes for Georgetown and East Coast Demerara, the company is hopeful that by the end of August, the new substations in the vicinity of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School would be up and running and will have an impact on Georgetown.
He says that the company is optimistic that the substation at Good Hope will be completed shortly also and this will in turn have an impact on the East Coast of Demerara. “Then we will start to see some benefits,” said Dindyal but reminded that the losses in the medium voltage system is just about four per cent.
The US$42M that was launched in August last year promises the replacement of 110km of faulty electrical transmission lines between Berbice and Demerara and the building sub-stations and a state-of-the-art control room linking them.
The project includes the construction of seven new sub-stations at strategic load points in Demerara and Berbice, as well as 26 new 13.8kv distribution outlets, which will address the age-old problem of circuits being overloaded.
A fibre optic cable linking the sub-stations and a sophisticated SCADA (Supervisory, Control and Data Acquisition) system to facilitate the monitoring, control and protection of the entire system, will be integrated.
Regarding the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) due diligence regarding GPL’s involvement of the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, Dindyal told this publication that a number of gaps had been identified.
He said that the first review conducted was an operational assessment of GPL. It was completed last year and in that investigation the IDB had addressed the power company’s management capacity.
“They identified that in particular areas, like our design department that our engineers don’t have the amount of experience to be expected,” conceded Dindyal.
He said that the IDB was looking forward to have the design department play a greater role in the “GPL of the future,” but it was found that the company did not have enough expertise in section.
Dindyal said that the IDB found that in the company’s control centre, there needs to be more qualified engineers managing the system on an “hour by hour basis.”
He said that it was also found that in the finance division of GPL there was a need for more qualified accountants.
Dindyal said that the assessment by the IDB ran the gamut of the operations of GPL and included the Executive Management. “They said that we have pockets in GPL middle management, in particular, and in technical areas where we don’t have with required experience.”
Dindyal cautioned that the persons in the employ of the company were found to be qualified but without the required experience.
This, the CEO said, can be attributed to the high turn-over in staff. “When young engineers come on the job you have to give them some time to get experience…In a lot of cases in three, four years when they get the experience they migrate.”
Dindyal opined that the findings in the reports have in no way delayed the IDB’s financial closure for its equity in the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project. He said that the very report along with a subsequent report by the very consultant will be used to determine what level of investment will be required in GPL and in which areas.
GPL recently announced an intention to increase its tariff by 26.7 per cent, a move that has attracted condemnation and criticism from various sections of society inclusive of the political parties and union bodies.
The Alliance for Change this past week accused the company of not doing enough to curb its technical and commercial losses that account for almost $4B
Party leader Khemraj Ramjattan told media operatives this past week that, that 17 per cent of losses by the power company is as a result of electricity theft and amounts to some $2.4B each year.
Technical losses if eliminated could save the company some $1.4B, according to Ramjattan.
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