$200M for unserved areas electrification
Stabroek News
July 5, 2004

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The government is to spend $200M from the Consolidated Fund this year on its Un-served Areas Electrification Programme (UAEP) and the power company is mobilising for the project.

This is in addition to the some $230M spent so far and represents the counterpart contribution of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan, which was negotiated since 2002, but for which implementation was delayed.

Meanwhile, invitations for bids are being advertised in the press for the supply of the necessary hardware with IDB funds. The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc is inviting bids for the supply of 450 single-phase transformers in various sizes for the Electrical Distribution Systems for the project areas. The company is also inviting bids for the supply of overhead line hardware, insulators, switchgear, aluminium conductors, crimped connectors, pre-formed wraps and meters and meter accessories.

Bidding is open to eligible source countries of the IDB and will be conducted through the international competitive bidding procedures of the IDB. According to the advertisements, all of the bids, with the accompanying non-refundable $15,000 fee or its equivalent in US dollars, must be in the tender box at the Ministry of Finance before 9 am on July 27. GPL said bidders from Guyana must submit with their bid, compliance certificates from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), "to prove that the bidder has met his or her obligations."

Prime Minister Sam Hinds in a letter to this newspaper published on June 18 said the government recently concluded further negotiations, which now clear the path for the UAEP.

The Prime Minister said the project is intended to provide electricity to most of the 40,000 house lots in 220 currently un-served areas close to the GPL and Linden grids. Through the IDB loan, the government would provide about 80% of the total cost of the project and consumers benefiting from the scheme would be expected to contribute $10,000 per connection, which represents only a fraction of the overall average cost of the connection.

He said that at present the materials are being procured for Phase One of the project, which is to be carried out between this year and December 2006 in 20 areas.

Hinds said the criteria for the sequencing were agreed to by the IDB. These include the lowering of the unit cost, determined by the distance from the existing line and the number of households in the un-served areas, the length of time that the area has been in existence and the availability of site maps to complete the design of the distribution system.

He said too that the consumer would have to be ready to pay the relevant charges and be in possession of an allocation letter or title for the plot of land, since these form part of the criteria for sequencing.

Hinds said the agreement requires that at least 50% of the house lots in the area have completed arrangements to receive electricity and the area must be judged to be low-income.

However, residents who are desirous of receiving electricity before their sequencing, and who can manage to raise the total cost of electrification, can make direct arrangements with GPL. The Prime Minister said that the process for this entailed making a formal application to GPL with a site map of the community, showing the layout of the streets. "This information will facilitate the preparation of distribution systems layouts and estimates by GPL..." he said.