Local Government Minister seeks to intervene in GPL, City Hall spat
-But sparks continue to fly as GPL justifies position
Kaieteur News
November 30, 2006

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Local Government Minister, Kellawan Lall yesterday sought to intervene in the stalled negotiations on electricity payments between Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) and the Georgetown Municipality .

Kaieteur News understands that the Minister met with Mayor Hamilton Green to discuss ways of resuming talks between the Council and GPL on a multi-million dollar bill owed by the Municipality.

GPL has disconnected power to several locations controlled by the City Council and yesterday several of these continued to operate without electricity.

GPL yesterday remained unmoved in its position stating that the company still has to collect its revenue in order to pay its own bill, including rates and taxes.

The power company stated that the disconnections started on November 21 because the M&CC failed to meet the obligations it agreed to in 2005, which would have seen them paying the monthly charges for electricity that usually exceeds $7.5M.

In a press statement, GPL explained that while negotiations for payments on the Council's arrears had been put on hold, the Council from 2005 to July 2006 had been paying parts of their monthly charges.

In justifying its position to cut its service from City Hall, GPL stated the Council made no payments for electricity consumed in August, September and October of this year.

The power company stated that several attempts were made to salvage payments from the City Council to no avail. But earlier this month, the power company stated that it met with the Town Clerk Beulah Williams to explain its position.

On November 20, GPL said that it informed the Council that it would disconnect power supply to their buildings if no payments were forthcoming for the recent months.

GPL stated that disconnection started the following day, and the action yielded payment covering part of one month's electricity consumption.

A further request was made of the City Council to pay for another outstanding month's consumption in order to effect reconnection, but GPL stated that the Council's response was to order the Commercial Bank to stop payment on their cheque, prompting the power company to continue its disconnection.

The amount owing to GPL is for the cost of electricity provided for 46 municipal locations, including street lighting which has incurred $201M of the current debt.

Those affected by the disconnections are City Hall, The Bourda Constabulary Outpost, The Constabulary Training Complex, The South Road Day Care Centre and the abattoir in Kingston .

The abattoir has been greatly affected even though it is now being serviced with generator power.

Only a small number of animals can be slaughtered since there is not sufficient lighting at the abattoir.

The Council on Tuesday moved to the High Court to recover millions owed by the power company in rates and taxes, which the Council says almost doubles the amount the Council owes the power company.