Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guyana's faux pas - data vs power

Wikipedia says:
"The electricity sector in Guyana is dominated by Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the state-owned vertically integrated utility. Although the country has a large potential for hydroelectric and bagasse-fueled power generation, most of its 226 MW of installed capacity correspond to inefficient thermoelectric diesel-engine driven generators."

Wikipedia also notes that Guyana's blackout (power outage) is the highest incidence in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The most incisive statement is that,"Electricity prices in Guyana are the third highest in the Caribbean." The rates range between US$0.25cents for residences and US$0.35cents for businesses (kWh). See GPL site.

The promise of cheaper power has been echoed for more than 30 years by several governments and now seems only a comfort to fools. It has been years since we have been told of Hydro Electricity and how such a venture would save us of billions of dollars we already spend each year on our fuel bill. For instance, our petroleum import bill for 2007 was almost 40% of our GDP. Not much has changed since then has it?

However, the Government of Guyana is now throwing more than US$37million behind bringing another fibre optic cable, a cable which benefits are still to be calculated.

In 2008 the President of Synergy Holdings Inc. (Makeshwar Motilall) spoke of bringing the Amaila Falls Hydro Project to a working state as he calculated an investment in this project at $400 million. Since 2002 we hve heard that the Hydro project has been slated to begin year after year. In 2006 Mr. Motilall was quoted as saying that the financial closing and ground breaking for this project were targeting for 2007 with December 15 2010 as the latest commence of work date. This 100 mega watt station is said to aid in the development of large scale industries and domestic consumption.

But has the government changed its course of direction in pursuing hydro power? Since the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the government and Synergy Holdings Inc, the Company has repeatedly been quoted in the local press as saying it is awaiting financial closure.

As noted above, The government has now quickly secured more than US$37 million to bring a competing fibre optic cable to promote e-governance and break the Guyana Telephone and Telegraphy Company monopoly. While the President has said that his cable will be used for egovernenace, his Ministers and the PPP MPs have insisted (even in Parliament) that their cable will be competitive.

At the same time, the telephone company (GT&T) has said that it was/is investing US$60 million on a new undersea cable.

So, while the Government is finding US$37 million for a data cable, it is hard pressed to find a Lesser amount for hydro electricity?

Why are they investing in something that others are investing in when they cannot supply basic power? What will the GoG's customers pay for bandwidth prices and will the GoG be regulated?

Also, what will power up the customers' data customers?

There is more to this data cable deal than can be explained by economics, politics or by the lame excuse that they want to bring data prices down by their (GoG) own cable.

1 comment:

  1. The Guyana’s community should do a pact to its government and demand for changes in the usage of energy. That is the reason why many people could not do some future investments like CD investments since excessive expenses are continuously bargaining our lives. We all know that natural energy is cheaper and environment-friendly, so why not develop it for the benefit of Guyana’s people? Well, I hate to say these but corruption must be practicing here. Now tell me, where are the politicians who are insisting for “public service”? I just hope the energy department of Guyana will look into these energy issues.