Georgetown, Guyana — (METERING.COM) — September 13, 2012 – Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. is set to expand its prepayment meter deployment by another 12,000 meters at a cost of $1.2 million, the company has announced.
In a statement GPL chief executive officer Bharrat Dindyal said that prepaid meters have become the metering system of choice, in an initiative that is practically selling itself.
“I think we no longer need to sell prepaid meters,” said Dindyal. “Almost all the consumers who are using these meters have good things to say to the extent that people are coming in large numbers asking to be converted from post-paid to prepaid. The problem for us is keeping up with that demand.”
The prepaid meters are supplied free to customers. The system comprises a customer interface unit and the meter that is mounted on a pole. Features include a built in alarm mechanism, an electricity duration indicator, and other services that would update the customer on a timely basis.
GPL is also focusing on the reduction of losses with a strategy based on a combination of social and technological interventions.
Currently over 1,000 cases of electricity theft and tampering are pending in courts against customers. Further, the level of losses, which had reduced to 31 percent, has been slowly creeping upward again.
From interactions with experts on loss reduction earlier in the year, the need for a social management plan was highlighted.
“We will be going into communities and talking to residents… basically taking a softer approach rather than continuing to rely entirely in the old policing methods,” explained Dindyal. “We were advised by the experts that the old method would not be successful because it results in antagonism, and deteriorates the company’s relationship with communities.”
However, the company will continue with raids into areas where residents continue to steal electricity. But at the same time, it is also looking at designing a network in peripheral areas so as to make the wholesale theft of electricity more difficult.
“We continue to analyze all our options, but the current overall strategy would be based on heavy technological intervention in redesigning the networks and bringing to bear new metering technology,” Dindyal said.
Meanwhile, other infrastructure improvements are also proceeding, including the construction of seven new substations, which will improve the supply of bulk power from east to west Demerara. A new submarine power cable has also been laid under the Demerara river. These are in preparation for power from a new 165 MW hydro facility at Amaila Falls, Region Eight.