-new equipment now online will reduce number of trips- outgoing Chairman
The state-owned Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) has named a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after more than 18 months of search.
According to outgoing Chairman of the Board of Directors, Robert Badal, the new CEO, Albert Gordon, has significant experience in the public utility space at senior levels, in the water and electricity supplies companies in Jamaica.
“Mr Gordon holds a BSC in Electrical Engineering and an MBA,” Badal explained.
Gordon officially started work yesterday.
He was, in March 2011, named as President of Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC).
In October, he was reported as a senior engineer with multi-sector industry experience, as being appointed Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).
Senior official, Renford Homer, has been performing the duties of CEO at GPL over the past year and a half.
Both Colin Welch and Bharat Dindyal lost their jobs as CEO in a major shakeup when the Coalition Government took office in 2015. Welch was chosen as new CEO but there were questions about his qualifications.
The CEO position at the electricity company is seen as the hot seat with consecutive Governments unable to keep up with the growing demand for power amid mushrooming housing schemes and new industries.
Alongside this is the aging distribution and transmission network system that GPL is attempting to change out.
There is a major project to install new transmission lines, build more sub-stations and introduce smart meters. However, there are no reports how well this is working.
Badal is a businessman with holdings in the hotel and in the manufacturing sector. The Coalition Government brought on to turn the fortunes of GPL around.
The businessman said that he cannot continue as his tenure has come to an end and he needs the time to focus on his companies’ expansion plans.
“I am now awaiting the appointment of a new board by the Minister of Public Infrastructure to execute a smooth hand over,” he said after announcing the name of the new CEO.
“It was indeed a pleasure to give the past 25 months of my time and expertise to building a new strategic direction for GPL. The board I led together with the management and staff has achieved significant improvements in the operations of GPL over the past two years.”
During this tenure, Badal said, the board and management were able to transform GPL into a financially strong and stable company adding in excess of $8 billion to its free cash flows.
“The Power Utility Upgrade Programme is on schedule and the Infrastructural Development Programme is soon to get off the ground. These and other internal measures would bring further improvements in operational efficiencies, build management capacity, reduce losses and ensure a reliable and competitive electricity supply.”
New generating assets for Bartica (Region Seven), Anna Regina (Region Two) and Canefield (East Canje) have been procured and will soon be commissioned replacing existing units that are more than 33 years old.”
Badal noted that a new strategic policy direction has been unveiled requiring the use of natural gas in electricity generation to replace all retiring generating assets currently based on heavy fuel.
“In this regard an expression of interest from the private sector for a 50MW (facility) had just been closed. All further replacements would follow this route to allow GPL to focus its resources on the building of a modern grid.”
Badal admitted that there were some challenges along the way including the disruption of the sub-marine cable, linking Kingston and Vreed-en-Hoop and the same disruption at Garden of Eden as well as a shortfall in generation at Skeldon.
“These events have caused significant outages to the displeasure of many of our customers. On every instance, the management and technical staff reacted well to restore power in the shortest possible time. The age of the national grid requires constant maintenance which has been intensified recently. New equipment fully tested over a few months and now on full implementation should remove the frequency of trips and a major part of power outages.”
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