Latest update March 29th, 2023 12:59 AM
Jan 29, 2014 News
By Leonard Gildarie
In one of its most ambitious project yet to improve performance, the state-owned Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) is working with funding agencies on a multi-million dollar programme to reduce losses while at the same time increase its efficiency.
The US$52.7M Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP), if approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union’s Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF), will ready GPL for the advent of hydro-power, by changing old transformers, improving metering technology and a host of other interventions including hiring of qualified personnel. One component may very well be the introduction of concrete or steel posts to replace the largely aging and hard-to-get wallaba ones.
The programme is currently in preparation stage and was being worked on since last year between GPL management, IDB and other technical officials.
EU’s CIF is putting up US$26.350M while IDB will be providing a matching amount. It is proposed that the project implementation will last five years and reduce drastically electricity theft and leakages due to faulty equipment.
To date, it will be among the most challenging of projects for GPL which over the years has been concentrating mostly on increasing its generation to meet growing demands. Because of the absence of cash, it had led to critical infrastructure, like transmission lines and transformers being affected, with no new investments.
NOT READY YET
There have been fears that GPL’s current infrastructure, because of its leaky lines, transformers and equipment, would not have been ready to take off increased power, leading to waste and losses. Theft of electricity has also been a major concern with the project expected to introduce new technology to address this.
Currently, a new 26mw plant at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Demerara, is being built to meet growing demands from especially new housing schemes. Another transmission line project with seven new substations, to the tune of over US$40M, is being run along the coasts.
The PUUP project would be seen as a major shift in GPL’s attention, from one of finding monies for new generators to now improving its efficiency, reducing losses in the process.
According to the initial project documents that have been placed on the IDB website, Guyana has an installed nominal generating capacity of 148 megawatt (MW) and approximately 666-GigaWatt-hour (GWh) delivered annually, delivering power to nearly 167,000 customers in the coastal communities.
In order for the self-generators, including big companies like Banks DIH and DDL, to switch to GPL’s supply, it will be necessary for the company’s output to be of suitable quality, reliability and cost.
It was noted that GPL’s 2012 financial statements showed net operation losses in 2011 and 2012.
According to the documents, key operational results and indicators show critical weaknesses in GPL’s operations.
“Electricity losses remain high after several years of trying different strategies to curb them. Technical losses are estimated to reach 14% of gross generation, while commercial losses are estimated to add another 18%.”
Quality of service is low, partly due to an aged, weak and overloaded transmission and distribution network, the latter consisting of long radial feeders extending, in some cases, for more than 40-km.
“Weaknesses in the distribution network increase technical losses, due to the low capability of handling the distributed energy and also hinder efforts to reduce commercial losses, due to lack of antifraud type installations and adequate control support.”
The documents noted that these factors, together with low technical and executing capacities of GPL, high costs of generation and constraints to raise already high tariffs, contribute to poor financial results and constrain capital expenditures, among other undesired consequences.
It was pointed out that while GPL has been considering a wide range of infrastructure investments in its recent development and expansion (D&E) programme in order to address problems in the grid and to cope with projected increases in electricity demand, persistent delays in the execution of such plans have hindered the achievement of significant results.
“In addition to the previously mentioned financial constraints, several assessments of GPL’s operations and corporate capabilities highlight the company’s limited capacity to perform within minimum international standards, in a sustainable manner, and much less within a context of a forecast 4.8% average yearly increase in energy demand for the next 15 years.”
These assessments also reveal the need to produce a cultural change, which will enhance operational and corporate capacity within GPL, including improving the performance of a challenged and stressed management and professional staff. It will call for better system planning; project management; loss reduction; network design; quality of service and collection rates.
In essence, the project will finance outsourced support to senior management to upgrade skills and implement best practices; a Corporate Development Plan (CDP) to upgrade key areas of GPL and infrastructure investments to help reduce losses.
With regards to the strengthening GPL’s management, it is being proposed that they will be provided with technical support in areas of operations and projects; commercial services and information technology; finance and procurement; human resources and loss reduction.
It is also being proposed to introduce standardized performance agreements for GPL’s senior management and the hiring of an international expert to generate regular, independent and standard reports on improvements.
In terms of operational efficiency, the programme will focus on investing in areas of planning, design, commercial operation, demand-side management, and power and network operations. There will be financing in modernization and strengthening of GPL’s Planning and Design department; improvement in the use of the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, and of the Customer Information System (CIS), which would allow for on-line management of the client database, effective management of service orders, follow-up on requests for new connections, servicing customers through a call centre and management of the commercial cycle.
Regarding loss reduction, the project will see financing in infrastructure that will focus on the overall electricity losses and the improvement of safety and reliability of the system.
“This infrastructure will be planned and executed with a comprehensive and consistent approach to tackle technical and commercial losses, while building upon experience obtained from the ongoing loss reduction efforts, currently being carried out mainly with resources from the
There will also be investments in improving infrastructure aimed to reduce technical losses, including network rehabilitation or reconfiguration, upgrade or optimal relocation of distribution transformers at load centres, and the addition of new distribution transformers. The possibilities of new metering technology will also be examined.
An official of GPL yesterday said that the project is still being tweaked and not finalized yet and is part of a number of other initiatives to move the company to another level and have it ready when hydro-power comes on stream.
You sucking the dry seed of your own mangoes, while the foreigners eating sweet flesh.
Mar 29, 2023Kaieteur News – Ceili Peterson will be the lone Guyanese Taekwondo athlete at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, after earning one of the 12 spots up for grabs in her 49kg weight class...
Mar 29, 2023
Mar 29, 2023
Mar 29, 2023
Mar 29, 2023
Mar 29, 2023
Kaieteur News – Years ago, a young teenage schoolchild went to extra lessons after school. Led by a ringleader, a group... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]