Giftland to start supplying power to GPL grid by weekend

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Giftland Mall

An estimated $35 million per month will be paid to the Giftland Mall for the supply of electricity to the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) – as the entity pursues various initiatives aimed at increasing its power generation capacity to ultimately bring an end to the constant power outages which continue to be a major bugbear for many citizens.

According to information received, an average of US$46,000 will be paid per month for power from Giftland. This would translate to some $9.9 million per month.

In addition, GPL will be paying for fuel at around $25.6 million per month. In total, this would work out to approximately $35.5 million per month.

In an invited comment, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Samaroo Ramtahal explained that the price tag for the purchase of electricity from Giftland is economical.

“The fuel oil we’re using right now, for example, from the 5 megawatts [from Giftland] is heavy fuel oil which is very, very cheap compared to if you have to buy LFO which is light fuel oil. So that’s the first saving,” he said.

DCEO of GPL Samaroo Ramtahal

“The other saving is if you compare it with an alternative. We could have gone with a MACORP rental [generator], the cost would be almost double the operating cost had we gone to use a MACORP rental generator set,” Ramtahal added.

A further breakdown showed that GPL agreed to pay some US$0.04 [4 cents] per KW/h during peak hours and US$0.03 [3 cents] per KW/h during off-peak hours. Peak hours are usually from 6 pm to 9 pm.

Meanwhile, the agreement set out an estimated sum of US$0.08 [8 cents] for fuel per KW/h.

This works out to an average of US$0.11 [11 cents] for both power and fuel per KW/h.

According to information received, it is estimated that some 1,460,000 kilowatts will be utilised on a monthly basis.

The Giftland Mall currently has a system that produces 6.7 megawatts of electricity, 5 megawatts of which is HFO [heavy fuel oil] fuelled. However, it only uses 1.6 megawatts during prime operations.

The excess power, which is approximately 3.3 megawatts daytime and 4.6 megawatts at night, will be supplied to the national grid by month-end.

Further, the Giftland Mall is hoping to provide, in due time, an additional 5 megawatts of power to GPL as allowed under their 10-megawatt contract with the entity. According to the proprietor, Roy Beepat, the company is waiting for the appropriate time to make another application to supply the extra 5 megawatts of power of gas or LFO-powered energy to back up the grid.

Giftland Chairman Roy Beepat

The Giftland Mall had, since 2016, offered to sell Government its excess electricity, but this was rejected. At a press conference in June 2019, GPL’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Albert Gordon, had said that buying power from an independent power producer (IPP) is a complicated issue which includes negotiating pricing and legal matters.

But now that the project is finally realised, Beepat said he is very grateful for the opportunity to be contributing to a solution to the country’s power woes.

In an invited comment, the local businessman said he is happy to be able to supply the nation with “very badly needed power at very economic prices”.

“It’s really a win-win for the entire nation,” he said.

In addition to the Giftland Mall, other private entities are being engaged to supply power to the national grid.

In September 2020, the Government had announced that over 30 companies have submitted Expressions of Interest to supply GPL with electricity.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips – who has responsibility for the energy sector – said Government is in the process of engaging other companies to feed power to the grid. He is hoping these come on stream in time for Christmas 2020.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips

“We are looking at other producers in Guyana that can come on board between now and Christmas and produce, maybe a small amount of electricity, maybe if it’s 10 megawatts or a little more than that,” he explained during an exclusive interview with this publication on Friday.

“The plan is to really augment what is being produced now by GPL. I think GPL produces just about 135 megawatts and according to the Standard Operating Procedures, they’re supposed to have 25 per cent of that as a reserve…and the reality is that they’re basically producing to meet the demand and not being able to create that reserve,” the PM outlined.

It is also anticipated that an additional 10 megawatts of power will be added to the grid by yearend through the installation of a new generator at the Garden of Eden Plant on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).

Additionally, by April 2021, some 46.5 megawatts of electricity will come on stream through a dual engine generator, also to be installed at Garden of Eden.

A longer-term plan is the gas-to-shore project, for which a Task Force headed by former Chief Executive Officer of NICIL, Winston Brassington has been assembled to look at various options.

PM Phillips said the goal is for the gas-to-shore project to produce an additional 200 megawatts of power and for it to come on stream by Christmas 2024.