|Related Links:||Articles on GPL|
|Letters Menu||Archival Menu|
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon told his weekly news conference yesterday that Prime Minister Sam Hinds has assured Cabinet maximum efforts are being made by both sides and other interested parties to ensure that GPL continues to discharge its responsibilities in providing electricity to consumers in Guyana.
"The Prime Minister updated Cabinet on the continuing efforts of the shareholders -Government of Guyana and AC Power - to arrive at a mutually acceptable framework of interventions to ensure that the company, GPL, provides electricity to Guyana's consumers," Luncheon reported.
He added that several prominent issues and difficulties facing the troubled power company are being addressed at the discussions. These include the financing of capitalisation and management, taking into account the setting of targets, standards and incentives.
Responding to a question as to whether there is a time framework in which the discussions should be concluded, Luncheon replied: "The ideal situation would be for the solution to be (found) in a way, and certainly within a period of time that sees very little compromise of the operations of GPL, (and a)...timeframe that allows the critical issues...to be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of all parties."
The Government spokesman added: "At Cabinet, the demand is for a timeframe that is sooner than later, and the Prime Minister has been urged and continues to be urged to move apace with arranging, pushing the discussions and negotiations and to have an agreement inked."
A team from AC Power, which represents the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), one of the shareholders of GPL, and the Government are reviewing the existing agreement with the intention of resolving the issues affecting the provision of a reliable supply of power at a reasonable cost.
Among the critical issues being discussed is the release of the last tranche of US$3.5M of the original investment, currently held in escrow pending the resolution of a claim by AC Power.
Cabinet has taken a position that the situation needed an extremely comprehensive approach to resolve the multitude of problems confronting the company and to provide a solution that would see it returning to providing power to consumers and adherence to the agreements that were concluded and are being discussed.
Electricity bills were set to be higher from February 1, but the move by GPL came under heavy fire by city businessmen and other sections of the society and the matter eventually ended up in Court, which has put the proposed increases on hold.
GPL had submitted to the watchdog Public Utilities Commission (PUC) prescribed information showing that energy (kwh) rates will be increased by between 13.9% for residential consumers and 16.6% compared with rates billed in December last year.
The Government, however, categorically rejected the decision by GPL to implement sharp hikes in tariff rates for the supply of electricity.
The Office of the President had stated that the GPL management has failed and should be removed and that the steep tariff increases are not justified as consumers are being punished for management's incompetence.
It also noted that the consequence of management's failure has led to increased tariffs, which is a source of much concern and frustration to consumers.
The widespread opposition to the proposed sharp increase in tariffs led to private Court action by a citizen seeking to prevent GPL from implementing the hikes.