Georgetown, Guyana — (METERING.COM) — September 16, 2010 – Consumer considerations are crucial to reducing electricity losses in Guyana, according to the country’s president Samuel Hinds.
Providing an update on recent policy initiatives, including the Unserved Areas Electrification Program (UAEP) and other actions aimed at contributing to a reduction of losses and improved service to customers, Hinds said that to date, US$5.6 million had been expended on the program. This has resulted in a reduction in losses from 40 percent in 2004 to 33.5 percent in the current year, indicating the policy is coming to fruition.
The UAEP was initiated in 2004 to support the government’s socio-economic development and poverty alleviation strategy. Objectives include the extension of electricity supply to unserved areas of Guyana and strengthening the legal, regulatory and institutional framework of the power sector.
Hinds said that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) had replaced over 20,000 defective meters over the past four years, and earlier this year had acquired a new meter test bench. Strategies are now being implemented to achieve higher consumer bill payment, and GPL is focusing on improving the security and accuracy of its billing system and the implementation of a new customer information system.
Hinds also commented that GPL would pursue aggressively the installation of prepay meters, based on its experience to date.
Regarding the theft of electricity, Hinds said that GPL had removed over 34,000 illegal connections in over 638 raids. Further, 1,575 individuals had been charged with electricity theft, of which 450 cases were still pending in court.
“The cultural belief that electricity should be more affordable and collusion among a number of individuals and groups at various levels within the energy sector is another matter that GPL must curb in its loss reduction efforts,” said Hinds.
Hinds added that the prioritization of providing consistent, reliable electricity throughout Guyana remains a critical agenda item for the administration.
Other energy conservation initiatives have included the distribution, through the assistance of Cuba, of around 500,000 compact fluorescent lamps to replace incandescent bulbs.