GWI racks up $7B debt for electricity supplied


The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), in reviewing the operating standards and performance targets of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), was keen to point out that, if allowed to grow, the $7 billion debt owed to the power company by the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) would create uncertainty in planning, with negatives for both the company and its consumers.

In an Order dated October 19, 2020, signed by its Chairman, Attorney-at-Law Dela Britton, the PUC found that GPL was unable to meet its Accounts Receivable, one of its eight standards and targets.

The PUC said it noted the company’s explanation in not achieving this standard, and agreed that enforcing compliance to collect the GWI debt is not in the national interest.

“Having recognised GPL’s commitment to the national good, the impact of GWI’s default on GPL, and by extension on their customers, must be considered. Given the magnitude of the current debt, if allowed to grow exponentially, it would create uncertainty in planning for the company, with negatives for both the company and its consumers,” the PUC noted.

GPL is hoping that Government would offset part of the water company’s electricity debt.

During a hearing at the PUC, GPL’s Divisional Director of Finance, Loris Nathoo, had stated that the water company’s average monthly light bill is between $220 million and $250 million, and the Gy$7 billion electricity bill was accumulated over the past two years, ending in August 2020.

Nathoo said GWI has already notified GPL that it did not have the money to pay its electricity bill. He said Government is aware of the situation, and he hopes some resolution would be arrived at soonest.

According to GPL Deputy CEO Renford Homer, GWI’s non-payment is a major challenge for the power company. He reasoned that if GWI had been receiving payments, it would have been able to meet its targets and overall production.