New initiative coming to reduce electricity theft

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The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is implementing a new initiative to clamp down on electricity theft. The power company plans to replace approximately 54,000 meters to reduce stealing and losses.

GPL’s Chief Executive Officer (acting) Renford Homer said the  aim  of the initiative is to see a reduction of  five percent in losses, “from where we are now which is approximately 29 percent to just about 23.8 percent in 2020… the expectation is not to see that figure go upward, but downward.”

The Guyana Power and Light, Main Street
                                             The Guyana Power and Light, Main Street

This initiative is catered for under component three of the European Union (EU) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP) which was tailored to address loss reduction.

According to a GINA report, this plan will benefit the company since the losses incurred from electricity theft result in millions of dollars. “Losses are something that any utility has to monitor because new technologies are being introduced every day, and that can hinder a utility company,” Homer said.

Homer pointed out that unbilled electricity from persons who are not interested in paying for what they use, can actually hurt the utility company. If GPL recovers one percent of its losses on an annual basis, it translates to approximately $250M and that is a great loss for the company, the acting CEO explained.

Earlier in the year, the company reported that commercial losses (electricity theft) – totalled 15.6 percent in 2014 and 14.5 percent in 2015 resulting in a total loss for 2014 being 29.6 percent and 29.09 percent in 2015. Technical losses in 2014 amounted to 14 percent and in 2015, it was 14.6 percent. Generating capacity was 135.15 megawatts (MW) in 2014 and 137.75MW in 2015. Peak demand was 119MW in 2014 and 117.8MW in 2015.

Acting Chief Executive Officer (Ag. CEO), GPL, Renford Homer
                           Acting Chief Executive Officer (Ag. CEO), GPL, Renford Homer

Additionally, Homer said the power company is in the process of completing the implementation of the smart meter. This is a modern technology used for effective communication in addressing electricity theft.

“You can request information from your office to the meter and it comes back to you, along with that, the meter provides indicators of irregularities, which would allow us to be proactive in handling them (irregularities),” Homer explained.

GPL is now focused on enhancing service elements to better serve customers, sustaining generation to meet the growing demand for electricity and considering the use of renewable sources of energy. “We want to be in tune with the country’s vision of going green,” Homer pointed out.

In the meantime customers are encouraged to continue to alert the power company of instances of electricity theft so that the company can address the issue.

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