May 01, 2023 News
… Says GPL continuously fail to achieve targets that are way below industry norm
Kaieteur News – The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has reported that the Guyana Power & Light Inc. (GPL) has continuously failed to achieve majority of its Operating Standards and Performance Targets (OSPTs) – despite those targets being way below industry norms and ‘nearly met’ the other targets.
According to the document seen by this publication, PUC Order 1 of 2023 which is a review of GPL’s performance in 2022, painted the agency in a grim light for only achieving four of the eight standards and targets.
While the PUC is empowered to levy a monetary penalty on the company for the failure to achieve its OSPTs in an amount that does not exceed 25% of the total value of the dividends, payable to the company’s shareholders, the Commission stated that despite GPL’s non-achievement for 2022, the penalty is not warranted at this time although the non-attainment negatively impacts the company’s operations.
Following a revision by the Commission, it was revealed that GPL failed to meet its standard and targets for: Customer Interruptions, Voltage Regulation, Meter Reading and Average Availability. On the other hand, the agency met the standards and targets for: Issuing of Bills, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and System Losses.
The review by the PUC was conducted every year in accordance to GPL’s Licence which mandates the agency to report on its OSPTs before March 30th of each year.
For System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) the Commission stated that this standard is to limit the average number of outages which consumers received during the reporting year. For the year 2022, the target was set at 90 outages. GPL failed this standard as it was revealed that for last year there were a total of 94 outages.
It was explained that from data collected by the company, it was revealed that the main reason for the high number of customer outages were as a result of feeder and transmission line trips and increased planned maintenance.
As it relates to the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), the intent of this standard is to limit the duration of outages experienced by consumers during the year. For the year 2022, the target set was 95 hours; however, the average duration of outages experienced by consumers during the year was 96 hours. As such, this standard was not met by GPL.
GPL indicated to the Commission that the reasons for the non-attainment of this standard were the same for the previous standard such as transmission lines and feeders’ trips which can be attributed to fallen branches that make contact with power lines resulting in electrical short circuits. GPL also explained that the frequency of motor vehicles hitting poles is a cause for concern and as such, the company is exploring the possibility of the use of concrete poles in the future to mitigate this frequent occurrence.
This standard requires that GPL “shall seek to maintain in stable conditions, voltages of 5% of the nominal voltage and 10% following a system disturbance.”
The Commission explained that GPL has maintained that it is difficult to monitor and report on the voltage supplied to each customer. In 2022 the company had set a target of 98% of complaints to be resolved within 25-days. However, GPL reported that it resolved 96% of voltage complaints within the 25-day period for last year. As such, the target set by the company was not achieved.
For 2022, GPL was required to read 97% of the meters of maximum demand consumers (industrial consumers) and 90% of the meters of the non-maximum demand consumers (residences). The company reported that it only managed to read 92% industrial meters and 88% residence meters. As such, GPL failed to meet yet another target.
GPL’s explanations for failing the aforementioned target in respect to the industrial and residence, respectively, is as a result of faulty meters and signal interruptions between the meters and handheld devices which prevents the meter reader from recording the readings on the industrial consumer meters and the delay in the transmission of consumers’ information from the old meters to the new AMI meters.
For the year 2022, GPL was required to achieve an average generation availability of 85%. The company reported that the average generation availability was 84%. As such, this standard was not met.
GPL reported that the unavailability of generators plagued with electrical faults and preventative maintenance such as oil changes, engine filters replacements at different power plants negatively impacted their availability target.
Moreover, GPL was able to beat the target of issuing their maximum demand bills within seven days and their non-maximum demand bills within 10 days upon completion of its meter reading exercises. The second and third target the company managed to reach is to satisfy the 26 days indebtedness to its creditors within 21 days; and was able to meet the target of the 30-days cash collection cycle. In fact, the company reported that its actual cash collection cycle was 14 days.
GPL indicated that in 2022, the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) had settled all indebtedness to the company thereby resulting in the decline in number of accounts receivable days for the reporting year.
The fourth target GPL met for the year 2022 is for system losses. This target sets the system losses which include technical and non-technical losses at 25% of dispatched power for the year 2022. GPL reported that the total system losses last year was 24.92% of dispatched power.
The Commission outlined in its decision that, while GPL continually fails to attain the majority of its operating standards and performance targets (targets that are below industry norms), the company continues to implement and explore innovative measures to bolster its commitment to its consumers.
However, the PUC notes with grave concern that GPL insists on using the failure of handheld devices as a shield in the achievement of meter readings for industrial consumers.
Another grave concern was the high percentage of system losses. The PUC stated that this continues to be a bane on the financial stability of GPL. “GPL needs to make a greater effort to reduce these losses as it will continue to hamper efforts to reduce the price of electricity to consumers,” the Commission stated.
The Commission emphasizes that it will continue to vigorously monitor the electricity sector so that GPL would be properly positioned to reach its contractual obligations and legal mandate to the consumers of Guyana.
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