The Challenge

In June 2010, GPL’s Loss Reduction Unit reported 19.5% of commercial losses and 14% of technical losses in the Utility. This updated estimation shows an increase in technical losses from 11.3% in 2006 to 14% in 2010. Weaknesses in the distribution network not only increase technical losses due to low capacity to handle the distributed energy but also hinder the implementation of focused efforts to reduce commercial losses.

To tackle losses effectively, it is necessary to upgrade the network and to improve its technical and social capacity to deliver energy. Upgrading the network will also improve GPL’s ability to monitor energy usage in different sectors of the grid, therefore allowing for better monitoring of overall losses.

Reducing overall electricity losses can improve GPL’s financial performance while alleviating the government’s fiscal commitments with regard to the energy sector. The Power Utility Upgrade Program will assist with this through the rehabilitation of approximately 630 kilometers of GPL’s distribution network in selected communities in Regions: 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The Beginning

The Government of Guyana in 2014 obtained loans from the Inter-American Development Bank commonly known as (IDB) and secured non-reimbursable investment financing from the European Union to help boost the efficiency and reliability of Guyana’s Power System through the Power Utility Upgrade Program (PUUP).

The general objective of the Program is to enhance GPL’s operational efficiency and corporate performance, in order to prepare the organization to supply electricity in a sustainable manner over the long-term.

What is PUUP?

  • Component I – Strengthening GPL’s Management Capabilities:
    By implementing a Management Strengthening Program (MSP) to support its senior management in (i) operations and execution of projects; (ii) commercial services and information technology; (iii) finance and procurement; (iv) human resources; and (v) loss reduction. An Oversight Mechanism will be set in place to help improve, monitor and evaluate GPL’s performance on a permanent basis.
  • Component II – Operational Efficiency:
    To support the strengthening of GPL’s capabilities in planning, design, commercial operation, power & network operations and demand-side management.
  • Component III: Infrastructure Investments for Loss Reduction:
    The rehabilitation of approximately 630-km of the distribution network with a focus on the reduction of overall electricity losses and the improvement of safety and reliability of the system

Component III of the  Power Utility Upgrade Program (PUUP) is an infrastructural investment component aimed at rehabilitating GPL’s aged distribution networks in communities like yours, in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The project is being done in two (2) phases – Lot A and Lot B. The upgrade caters to rehabilitating 89 priority areas in Lot A and 87 priority areas in Lot B which will account for approximately 630 kilometers of medium and low voltage distribution networks. At the same time, the meter upgrade will account for approximately 39,199 service upgrades using Smart Meters. The Upgrade is aimed at replacing or restoring approximately 630 kilometers of medium and low voltage distribution networks to reduce technical and commercial losses.

With the Upgrade customers can expect:

  • An improved supply of electricity to your residence;
  • Better reliability of power which can sustain the life expectancy of electrical appliances;
  • Reduced voltage fluctuation;
  • Reduced power outages owing to falling trees during inclement weather conditions
  • The elimination of all faulty connections.

What does the Upgrade Entail?

  • Pole Planting
    • Contractors will plant new wallaba poles in close proximity to the existing poles in your community. These poles will be used for the new distribution network.
    • Customers may experience some inconvenience due to increased traffic and persons in the areas, as well as restricted access to road usage.
  • Stringing of Conductors
    • Contractors will string new conductors on the newly installed wallaba poles to begin the construction of the new network. This also includes the installation of the distribution boxes, transformers and service cables.
    • Customers may experience some inconvenience due to increased traffic and persons in the areas, as well as restricted access to road usage.
  • Meter installation
    • At this stage, the Contractors will need access to the customers’ premises to install the new service line and meter.
    • The new meter will be mounted on a service (metal) pole at the front of the premises.  The correct placement and installation of the service (metal) pole, according to the Electricity Sector Reform Act Chapter 57:01 is “within your property line and in front of your yard/house”.
    • The exact location of the pole at the front of the premises shall be determined by the customers and contractors, provided it is in keeping with the design of the network.
    • Customers are advised to be present or have an adult representative present at this time with a copy of a recent light bill issued by GPL.
  • Electrical installation 
    • At this stage Contractors will dismantle the old network and energize the upgraded network.
    • Customers will experience power outages for this process. Power outages are necessary at this point to protect our customers and workers from harm. The scheduled outages will be broadcasted in advance through GPL’s Planned Maintenence Schedules watch schedules in order to minimize inconveniences.