May 04, 2017 News
By Murtland Haley
Based on information reaching this newspaper, China National Machinery Import (CMC) has started mobilising to begin works on the US$23M (GUY $4.6B) dollar project to rehabilitate the electricity distribution network
project of the Guyana Power and Light Company.
According to reports, the company which is partnering with the Export Corporation and China Sinogy Electric Engineering Co. Limited has begun procuring utility poles necessary for the completion of the multibillion-dollar project. The venture is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union via a part-grant/part loan agreement.
The smart meters which form one aspect of the project are to be mounted on these said poles. This methodology is being utilised to avoid GPL employees from having to enter the premises of residents to record data from the meters.
However, this step in mobilisation comes before the meters would have passed the testing phase. As of last Thursday, the meters have not yet arrived in the country. This is according to Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Technical, Elwyn Marshall.
He had informed this newspaper that the project is scheduled to start this month. Seeking to clarify articles carried by Kaieteur News on the matter, the power company said via a statement that the meters will undergo accuracy tests by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).
Yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of GNBS, Lloyd David, was questioned by this newspaper whether the entity is in receipt of smart meters for the said project.
According to David, the entity is only concerned with testing the accuracy of the meters. He then added, “We have not encountered the smart meter or done any testing on the smart meter as yet. We only test what GPL submits. GPL has not submitted the smart meter, so we have not done any testing on them.”
He said that the GNBS had tested the pre-paid and post-paid meters which are currently being used across Guyana. David reiterated that the GNBS only tests for the accuracy of the data recorded by the devices, and has no responsibility to verify the quality and other requirements of the smart meters.
Kaieteur News has learnt that the Chinese company has to produce samples of seven types of smart meters for the power company to test; after which the agreed models will be procured and used as the project is rolled out.
GPL has formally requested the company to produce sample meters on or before the deadline of May 15, 2017. The fact that the company is still to produce samples, counters what was said by the Deputy CEO – Technical. Mr Marshall had said that the Chinese company had presented two meters to GPL and one was agreed upon.
The Deputy CEO had even said that he does not believe CMC would find any difficulty sourcing the meters since they are available globally.
The award of the contract to the Chinese had raised several questions since the company was involved in the construction of seven sub-stations, running new high powered transmission lines along the coastland and the laying of two submarine cables across the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
The cable which was laid across the Demerara River was damaged in July under unknown circumstances. This left the East Demerara and Berbice areas without additional power being supplied by the new Vreed-en-Hoop power station for a number of months.
Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson had said that the Chinese company was the lowest responsive bidder. A responsive bidder is an entity that would have satisfied all the requirements of the bid. The award to CMC was also questioned since the cost is $1B above the engineer’s estimate.
This particular project is one part of a larger US$64M contract. GPL has already begun advertising in the newspapers for bidders to compete for Lot B of the project.
However, in Lot A, CMC should be procuring and installing transformers, cables, connectors and smart meters. The running of new lines for the medium and low voltage distribution network will target areas in Berbice and Demerara.
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