New Chairman of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL), Robert Badal, has vowed to stamp out corruption within that state-owned company.
Badal, a prominent businessman who owns Pegasus Hotel and the Guyana Stockfeeds Limited, said that among some of the top issues to be tackled will be that of efficiency.
On Friday, Badal and private sector official, Komal Ramnauth, were both given instruments along with charges to carry out their mandate to turn GPL around.
The meeting took place at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Kingston, with Ministers David Patterson and Annette Ferguson present.
Badal emphasised that stringent steps must be taken to increase the company’s efficiency.
These steps, he said, must include the stamping out of corruption from within. “With a new vision and culture, everyone will fall in line,” he said.
Both men were urged to deal with the pressing matters facing GPL as quickly as possible. During the simple ceremony, Minister Patterson expressed hope for an early Board meeting. He further indicated that important matters, including procurement and loss reduction, must be at the top of the agenda. He added that loss reduction is one of the complaints the company faces most.
Minister Patterson further said that the new Board must guard against emergencies and must focus on better planning and execution of tasks.
Ramnauth added that the Board will work on fostering better relationships from the top down.
Meanwhile, Minister Ferguson urged the Board to look into electricity theft. “Come up with innovative ideas; come up with a plan,” Minister Ferguson stressed. “Internally, we must do better.”
She further emphasised that “at the end of the day, not only GPL must win; both customers and GPL must benefit.”
Additionally, both Ministers urged the men to create policies to tackle un-served areas and expand GPL’s reach. The Ministers added that GPL must focus on bearing the cost of these expansions since it had a responsibility to the people of Guyana. They stressed that, in this modern age, persons should not be living without electricity.
“We must have an expansion programme; GPL has a national responsibility to the people,” Minister Patterson stressed.
Late last month, the new Board was installed and for the first time in a while, it will include women – there are four of them.
With over 170,000 households scattered on the coasts, there has been growing pressure for the entity to up its game. The Board’s first set of tasks will be looking into a report detailing an investigation that the current Chief Executive Officer (Ag), Colin Welch, last year allegedly attempted to tamper with a multi-million-dollar contract for prepaid meters.
The new Board will also be looking to a possible deal with Guyana Windfarm Inc., a company that is planning to sink over US$50M into a 26-megawatts project at Hope Beach, East Coast Demerara.
With regard to the wind-farm project, Patterson explained that GPL will have to iron out a power purchase agreement and work out the technical details that will see the 26-megawatts being accommodated in the interconnected system of that state-owned company, and in accordance with the regulatory framework. When it comes on stream, the wind-farm will be about 15 percent of the country’s current power and will be from renewable energy.
The members of the Board are Badal – Chairman; Denise Simmonds; Leslie Ramalho; Abiola Wong-Inniss; Morsha Johnson-Francis; Tara Singh; Chief Executive Office of Guyana Energy Inc., Ramnauth and representatives from the Guyana Public Service Union, the Private Sector and possibly the Parliamentary Opposition.
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