GPL’s customer base surpasses 230,000

GPL sub-station at Garden of Eden, EBD

…peak demand increased by 45.6% since 2019

The Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) customer base currently stands at over 230,000 while its peak demand has increased by a whopping 45.6 per cent increase since 2019… an increase that the government has made efforts to match by increasing its investments in new power.

During his Independence Day message in Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Berbice) on Saturday night, President Dr Irfaan Ali spoke about some of the challenges the government has been confronting since its return to office. This includes the increasing demand for power, with the GPL customer base increasing from 177,000 a decade ago to over 230,000.

“Our GPL customer base has increased from 177,000 in 2014 to more than 230,000 today. That is more than 50,000 new customers but more importantly, we had an increase in demand from 2020 to now. The demand at the peak has increased by 45.6%. In 2019, the demand at the peak was 126 megawatts. Today the demand at peak is 185 megawatts,” the Head of State said.

President Ali further explained that the government has invested in 127 megawatts of additional power. This additional power includes 9.6 megawatts of emergency power and 36 megawatts at Everton, Berbice from the recently contracted power ship.

“That is why we have to invest in bringing new power into the equation. We have brought 127 megawatts of additional power, 9.6 megawatts of emergency power, 46.5 at Garden of Eden, six megawatts at Onverwagt, 28.9 at Columbia and 36 megawatts at Everton,” President Ali added.

Last month, GPL signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Qatar-based Urbacon Concessions Investments, W.L.L (UCI) for the rental of the 36-megawatts floating power plant for two years in a move to add much-needed capacity to the grid. While the rental deal was signed with UCI, the power ship is owned by Turkey-based Karpowership International.

As part of this agreement, GPL has already paid a US$1 million mobilisation fee. The power company also has to pay a fee of 6.62 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as a monthly charter fee for the power ship and a monthly operation and maintenance fee of 0.98 US cents per kWh based on electricity generated. GPL is also required to provide Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) for the operation of the generators onboard the vessel.

The State-owned power company has been experiencing generation shortfalls due to an unprecedented rise in electricity demand coupled with challenges from its aged equipment. In March, two of GPL’s engines failed disrupting power generation across the country.

Before this vessel connected to the grid, GPL was generating about 165 megawatts of power. The vessel has since been connected to the grid. Currently, GPL is generating enough to meet peak demand and is aiming to produce at least 265 megawatts of electricity by the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, the gross generation for GPL is expected to grow by 20 per cent per annum between 2024 and 2028, and the peak demand will grow by 18 per cent per annum. As of May 2024, the peak demand has been recorded at 183 megawatts — the highest for the year.

GPL’s generating capacity is expected to get a major boost next year when the Gas-to-Energy project comes online. The project is expected to add as much as 300 Megawatts to the national grid.

The scope of Guyana’s Gas-to-Energy project consists of the construction of 225 kilometres of pipeline from the Liza field in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana, where Exxon and its partners are currently producing oil.

It features approximately 200 kilometres of a subsea pipeline offshore that will run from Liza Destiny and Liza Unity floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels in the Stabroek Block to the shore. Upon landing on the West Coast Demerara shore, the pipeline would continue for approximately 25 kilometres to the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.

In last year’s national budget, the project received a $43.3 billion allocation, in addition to the $24.6 billion injected into the start-up of the transformational project, for the construction of the NGL Plant and the 300 megawatt (MW) Combined Cycle Power Plant at Wales, WBD.

This year, a whopping $80 billion was budgeted to advance this project and its associated infrastructure, including transmission and distribution upgrades to offtake the power.