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Gov’t to implement electricity tax for large companies on GPL grid as consumption peaks – VP Jagdeo

-blasts former APNU+AFC administration for lack of investment in energy sector
WITH the government investing heavily in the electricity sector, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has announced that measures will be put in place to address the major gap between the demand and supply.

He said the government will put in place punitive taxes that will tackle the “big users” who come on the grid during “peak” hours.
The Vice President made the revelation at the opening ceremony of the West Central Mall, which was commissioned at Leonora, Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) on Friday.

“So, a lot of the big users now, who are self-generating, have to come on the grid now and taking power from GPL, so the demand now in a single night right now is 180 megawatts and we only have 174 megawatts of installed capacity,” Dr Jagdeo said, adding that it is now necessary to take those individuals off of the grid.

“We just agreed on a policy, that we put for the peak hours, punitive taxes for those big users who come onto the grid because it is at the peak period where the demand is greater than the supply.”
The Vice President also said that the government is purchasing another 30 megawatts of power and hopefully it will arrive before the end of this year.

However, Dr. Jagdeo stated that Guyana is facing these hurdles because of the “short-sightedness” of the previous coalition government.
“No investments were made in those five years,” he firmly expressed.

Speaking more on the pestering power outages, the Vice President said, “You see a state of blackouts now. We have always argued that the lack of investment in a timely manner, affects you because there’s a lag effect to the economic policy…”
Dr. Jagdeo further called out the former APNU+AFC government for shutting down the Amaila Falls Hydropower station and their failure to reinvest into another outlet.

“When fuel prices went up [this] government subsidised the price of electricity and water to keep the cost of living down in this country.”
The Vice President then touched on the much-anticipated Gas-to-Energy (GTE) project, which is expected to be completed in next year. Late last year, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali presided over the signing of the US$759 million contract to begin work on the much-anticipated GTE project.

This is expected to be one of the largest civil infrastructure projects undertaken in Guyana’s history. It will include a Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Plant and the 300-megawatt (MW) power plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara.
Speaking at this year’s CERAWeek energy conference, Dr. Jagdeo outlined Guyana’s ambitions to utilise the estimated 17 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of associated gas in the Stabroek Block.

“We’re having a different kind of conversation to move to monetise this gas,” Jagdeo said, adding: “They’re [Exxon] doing some studies and we are also getting some external help to do a gas strategy, but we believe that’s the next [energy] wave… because we believe that Guyana has a huge potential for becoming a gas producer.”

When complete, the GTE project will be a huge leap forward for Guyana, reducing the price of electricity by an estimated 50 per cent and increasing the reliability of the power grid. This represents a significant step forward for a nation that has suffered from energy insecurity throughout much of its history and a landmark moment for Guyana’s independence from expensive imported fuel.

The 2023 national budget allocated G$43.3 billion to advance construction of the plant and associated facilities.
The gas project should start lowering household electricity costs by as much as half when it comes online in 2024 or 2025, although many more improvements will also be required to fully modernise the infrastructure of the electric grid and improve reliability.