Opposition lashes out at GPL
January 22, 2007
NUMBER FIFTY-ONE VILLAGE, CORENTYNE – “I want to believe that the Guyana Power and Light is the most suppressive service institution Guyanese are now having to deal with on a daily basis! For too long the people are crying out to have a fair deal with this ever so important service.”
Last Thursday, members of the main opposition party lashed out at the service offered by the electric company. Winston Samuels, People's National Congress Reform-One Guyana and Regional Councilor, attacked the billing system.
“All of the problems with the Guyana Power and Light were taken to the Public Utility Commission, especially the estimated billing, and Guyanese were assured by the Public Utility Commission that there is a reform taking place and soon we would see a change.”
This change, he noted, is yet to materialise. “Since 2005, if any reform has taken place, we are saying it is very painful and frustrating. We are wondering how early we would be able to experience this reform in the replacement of the estimated billing that was rejected by the PUC in December 2005.”
He also criticised the system under which some categories of employees are paid. “We Guyanese were told recently that GPL has two categories of workers – the permanent and the temporary.
“I understand that the temporary employees are employed under the condition that they would be paid based on the number of meters read. If they read over and above a certain number they would receive an added commission. This is the main reason why there are so many problems with estimated billing. The figure on your bill is never stable.”
According to him, his party has been very vocal on the issue. “I have seen quite recently the move taken by the PUC in connection with the GT&T cell phone issue where they have fixed the rate. I am wondering if this same urgency cannot be taken with the GPL.”
Mr. Samuels strongly believes that should the practice of estimated billing continue more illegal connections would develop. “There would be other means to escape exorbitant billing. We are reminding them (GPL) that the entity is the asset of the Guyanese people.”
Another member of the People's National Congress Reform One Guyana, Mohammed Latif Harun, said that under the Guyana Electricity Corporation, each meter carried a card. “So every meter reader that comes to your house had to read the meter and sign the bill card but now it is no longer there. They should bring this back. If they don't do this it would encourage people to continue to tamper with the meter.
“Illegal connections are plentiful, especially in some big workshops. In an area that I frequent in the Central Corentyne , there are about four workshops and each one has a bottom house connection. They weld with domestic meter. This is why many of the people cannot get the full 110 volts.”
Efforts were made to seek a comment from the Guyana Power and Light Inc. but to no avail.