The Guyana Power and Light Company which is still to explain the spate of power outages that have been gripping Georgetown and surrounding areas for the past four months, has announced that it wants to increase electricity charges by a whopping 26.7%.
GPL is blaming the cuts to its budgetary allocations by the National Assembly for the decision, and according to the company, the new charges could be introduced as early as July. The company in a statement said it has not increased electricity rates in over five years and cannot remain viable with the current rates being charged and the cut to its budget.
The Opposition parties in Parliament used their majority to slash the $10 Billion budgetary allocations to the company by $5 Billion. During the budget debates, Opposition members of Parliament had expressed concerns about previous allocations to the company being made, and GPL not presenting a comprehensive plan to show spending and improvements to the electricity sector.
Two weeks ago, the Alliance For Change issued a call for the entire board of GPL to be re-examined and replace. The AFC believes bad management is what is responsible for the current problems at the power company.
The AFC’s position is while fuel prices have reduced in recent years, GPL is still unable to effectively manage its resources. Add that to several protest actions by workers over the past year and constant power outages, and the AFC believes its time for an overhaul of the entire board at GPL.
The Government during the budget debates had warned that cuts to the GPL budget could result in increases in electricity charges. The Opposition parties had indicated that they would have no problem restoring the money cut from the budget once GPL produces a plan for spending and implementation of several major reform programmes.
In its statement issued on Saturday, GPL said its board is currently looking at the increases and planning an implementation date.
Photo by Ajay Baksh
FILED:9th June 2013.