The main opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity has a clear message for the Guyana Power and Light Company and its announced intention to increase electricity rates, the APNU has stated that it will stand with all Guyanese in their resolve to not pay a cent more to GPL.
Over the weekend, GPL announced that it intends to increase electricity rates by a whopping 26.7%. The company blames rising fuel prices and the 50% slash in its budget by the National Assembly for the plan to increase rates. Citizens are not too happy about the planned increases and many of them have taken to Facebook and the airwaves to express their concern over any GPL increase in electricity charges.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, the APNU said it “totally rejects the announced proposal by the Guyana Power and Light Corporation to increase electricity rates by 26.7%.”
The party said it has noted that by GPL’s own admission it is losing more than 31% of the power that it generates. “Technical loses are listed at 14%; commercial loss at 17%. Anywhere else in the World a corporation with this type of track record, the board and top tier management would be dismissed; instead the government of Guyana sought in the National budget to give GPL a whopping 5.2 billion, without demanding reorganization or a turn around plan”, the APNU statement noted.
According to the Opposition party, there is a conspiracy between the PPPC administration and the Board and Management of GPL as an attempt to punish the people of Guyana for their (GPL) own failures. The statement further added that “the tactic is clear to all that this government intends to link this proposed rate increase with the 2013 Budget cuts.”
At a press conference on Monday at the PPP Freedom House headquarters, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said while the GPL increases may not be welcoming news, it should not come as surprising news and he has laid blame squarely at the feet of the opposition parties and their decision to slash the budgetary allocations to GPL by 50%. GPL was allocated just over $10 Billion in the 2013 budget. The Opposition used their majority in the National Assembly to take away $5 Billion, saying that the power company needed to show how it has spent previous amounts of money allocated and how it intends to improve on the electricity supply in the country.
The APNU said the power company continues to under-perform and “there has been no improvement in services and no significant attempt to control line loss, while daily black-out continue to be a way of life.”
“In the current climate, where citizens are burdened by high cost of living, stagnant wages and exorbitant taxation; rampant unemployment; APNU finds it unconscionable that any civic-minded Corporate citizen ( company) would even consider to saddle its customers with such an increase”, the APNU statement noted.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds on Monday said the GPL increases should have been expected. He noted that the power company has not raised electricity rates in over 5 years and it could no longer continue as a viable entity with the current rate in place.
The Opposition parties are of a different opinion and are of the view that the decision might be a move by the Government to provoke public unrest.
The APNU has now issued a call for the removal of the entire board of GPL and for there to be a total managerial overhaul of “this mismanaged corporation”. The Alliance For Change has issued a similar call.
(FILED: 11th June 2013)