Guyana to import ‘skilled technical personnel’ for electricity sector – Pres. Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali

In light of challenges in securing much-needed technical personnel for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Incorporated, the Government of Guyana will be outsourcing at least 10 highly-skilled technicians from Cuba.

This was announced by President Dr Irfaan Ali on Friday evening, during a live broadcast to update the public on the issues facing the state-run power company and the interventions being undertaken by the Government to remedy the situation.

According to the Head of State, there is a need to strengthen the management capacity and capability of the power sector. Additionally, he noted that there is a severe skills deficit at the technical level.

Last week he noted that the technical support for GPL could be imported, since the power company was having difficulties in filling these positions locally. Consequently, President Ali on Friday stated that steps are being taken to increase the technical capacity of GPL by recruiting an additional 10 engineers with the relevant skills to enhance the electricity sector.

“Now, we have gone out many times to procure the services of Guyanese engineers, and we have not been successful because of the demand for engineers in other areas. So, we are working [on this]. For example, I just concluded meetings with the Cuban Ambassador [to Guyana, Jorge Francisco Soberón Luis]. They have very skilled technical personnel who they are willing to deploy [to Guyana] immediately to work in the system and to help us technically,” Dr Ali disclosed.

For the past few weeks, Guyana has been enduring a heightened spate of blackouts following what the GPL had described as engine failures at different locations. At least two engines are currently down.

At a meeting with the senior management of the power sector, President Ali read the Riot Act to the top brass of GPL, and also had strong words for officials from Wartsilla and the Power Producers and Distributors Incorporated (PPDI) – the two companies that play integral roles in generating the country’s power.

On the sidelines of an event last week, the Guyanese Leader ruled out a shake-up of the management at GPL, but noted that tremendous technical support would be retained to ensure adequate and effective power supply from the state-run entity.

Meanwhile, with its current challenges, GPL is now generating some 165 megawatts of power. However, the current peak demand for electricity is at 180 megawatts.

The Government has blamed the issues at the state-owned power company on several issues, ranging from aged infrastructure and systems to lack of maintenance, to human resource gap, and the growing electricity demand coupled with public destruction of the entity’s transmission utilities.