The People’s Progressive Party on Monday said it is “very concerned at the recent application by the Guyana Power and Light Company to the Public Utilities Commission for the approval of a 26.7% increase in electricity rates to consumers”, but the party is laying blame for the GPL decision at the feet of the Opposition parties and their decision to slash the $10 Billion budget to GPL by half.
Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh told the media at the PPP’s Freedom House Headquarters that the reality is that GPL “was a company in financial distress anyhow” that was carrying the load from increased fuel charges without passing that on to consumers. He said while the move by GPL is unwelcoming news, it should not be surprising news.
The Opposition parties during the 2013 budget debates had questioned a number of multi million dollar projects that were undertaken by GPL to improve the power supply.
The parties expressed concern at the time that the electricity situation remained the same with GPL not accounting for the millions that were spent on the projects. The parties challenged GPL to become more transparent in its operations and improve its management of resources to ensure the money that was cut from the budget be restored.
The power company announced on Saturday its decision to seek the 26.7% increase in electricity rates. The Minister of Finance said GPL has now found itself in a position where its finances cannot sustain the operations of the company. He said he hopes the Opposition is taking notice.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill said opposition concerns about the mismanagement of GPL should be seen as a smoke screen to deflect attention from the Opposition’s decision to cut the GPL budget.
Just last week the Opposition party, Alliance For Change recommended that there be a complete overhaul of the GPL Board of Directors and for the company to focus more of its attention on improving management.