GPL’s switch to natural gas banking solely on 2020 oil, what will happen in the short-term?- Jagdeo questions


…says no feasibility study was done

A recent decision taken by the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) to alter one of its advertisements to procure a 50 megawatt dual fuel plant that uses Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and natural gas, to natural gas only, has raised some concerns since it is believed that natural gas may not become available until 2020.

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

While it has been noted that several existing GPL generators can be converted to use natural gas that ExxonMobil will be extracting during commercial oil production in another two years, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said even with a switch, it requires appropriate studies.

“We do not have a feasibility study on natural gas, the efficacy of it being used to generate power in Guyana. So this Government is going to go, put out an Expression of Interest (EoI) for a type of power plant that we have done no feasibility study on as to whether it is suitable for Guyana or not,” Jagdeo contended.

Contrary to ExxonMobil’s position that it will not be commercially feasible to extract and sell natural gas, the Government has made it clear that it wants the fuel to power GPL’s generators.

A local company had also said several of the sets at Kingston Power Station and all of those at the Vreed-en-Hoop Power Station can be converted to use natural gas.

But Jagdeo said even if this is possible, the Government has pledged to the international community to have 100 per cent of its energy come from renewable resources by 2025.

“This is contrary to that pledge. This is another broken promise. Even by a long stretch of the imagination, even if this project starts in 2020, how does that solve the blackouts now?” he questioned.

And even while Government has stated that 25,000 more people will have access to electricity, Jagdeo said there is no clear plan to improve the efficiency of the service.

“So, you’re bringing more demand on the system but you don’t have any generating capacity and the generating capacity is already stressed. And so this is what we get for planning,” he opined.

Jagdeo did not stop there; adding that the current Government is placed in an even better position than that of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), because under his presidency, the prices for oil were high.

“They have collected over $20 billion in the two and half years they have been in office. I hope that the media ask them about the money… they never confirmed how much they collected because they did not adjust the prices of electricity downwards when the oil prices fell,” he claimed.

The former Head of State said Government has no fixed plan to address the electricity situation in the country and has only given shallow explanations, noting that the problem will get worse.

According to Jagdeo, the Administration has continuously uttered that they are “doing something” to rectify the constant power outages, but there’s never anything substantial or specific to support their claims.

Moreover, he lambasted the Government further on their poor planning skills, highlighting that they have proclaimed that 25,000 more people will be benefiting from electricity in the near future, when there is no generating capacity and the current system is already stressed.

Less than a week ago, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) minced no words in taking to task the Government-owned and operated GPL for the spate of power outages that have been registered throughout Guyana.

According to the PSC, GPL, which is the only company providing the country with electricity, has provided no credible explanation to address the “series of unannounced and frequently prolonged power outages.”

“To add insult to injury, the GPL recently from 2nd September to 5th November, 2017, announced a series of scheduled maintenance power cuts which, in Georgetown alone, amount to a total of 149 hours spread between 17 sections of the city. In addition, power cuts averaging about four hours each were scheduled for the Essequibo Coast, Berbice, East and West Bank Demerara, West Coast Demerara, Soesdyke and East Canjie,” said the PSC.

Moreover, the PSC posited that “judging from this performance or, to be more accurate, absence of performance, GPL simply have neither the management nor the capacity to deliver a reliable power supply to the country and the Government has consistently failed to address this reality.

“Guyana’s manufacturing and commercial sectors cannot function in these circumstances and, in this day and age at the exorbitant price that we are expected to pay for electricity, Guyana’s population should not be subjected to this punishment.  As the Christmas season approaches, this has now become an even more pressing source of concern for the populace.” (Samuel Sukhnandan)


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