Guyana business group says power outage woes will hamper investments

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The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has voiced its profound disappointment regarding ongoing power outages in Guyana. In a November 2 release, the GCCI stated that “this continued spate of power disruptions is having an acute impact on the productivity of enterprises,” and that it is “cascading into general underperformance of enterprises.”

The power outages in Guyana are not a new issue, but their continued prevalence has raised concerns among the business community, particularly with regard to their impact on investment. The GCCI emphasized that “this continued loss of productive time, disruption to production and an overall hindrance to the smooth functioning of business will impede both growth and investment prospects.” 

In light of this, the GCCI has reiterated its support for investments in sustainable energy projects in Guyana, including the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, the Gas to Energy Project, and solar farms. The Chamber believes that these projects represent the future of Guyana’s energy supply, and are critical to addressing the power outage issue in the long term. 

However, the GCCI also called on the state power utility, Guyana Power & Light (GPL), and the government to take immediate action to address the current generation shortfall. GPL Inc., in a November 1 notice, acknowledged the challenges posed by the increased demand for electricity in Guyana, and outlined steps it is taking to alleviate service interruptions. GPL noted that the country recorded a historic peak in electricity demand at 182 megawatts (MW), surpassing the company’s existing generation capabilities and resulting in temporary service disruptions during peak demand periods.

GPL said that it had anticipated the increased demand, and had procured 28.9 MWs of generation as an interim solution, with plans to have this additional generation operational by mid-December. The company reassured customers that it is committed to resolving the situation and minimizing service disruptions.

The GCCI also highlighted the need for better forecasting, planning, and investments in the energy sector to mitigate the impact of power outages on businesses and the wider Guyanese population.

The first major project expected to give Guyana’s power generation capacity a boost that could significantly reduce power outages is the Gas-to-Energy project, but that is expected to start-up, at the earliest, in the last quarter of 2024. An Indian company has been hired to overhaul Guyana’s transmission system, also targeted for completion in 2024.

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