World Bank scores Guyana zero for electricity reliability
Taking account of the energy sectors in 190 countries ranging from developed to developing, the World Bank has ranked Guyana at an unflattering 165 position when it comes to reliable electricity supply.
This is contained in the bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, which was recently released. While Guyana was ranked at 134 out of 190 countries when it comes to facilitating business, its score in the energy sector was much worse.
On a scale of 0 to 100, Guyana was scored at 45.91 when it comes to getting electricity, while the cost as a percentage of income per capita was $421. On a scale of 0 to 8, when it comes to reliability of electricity supply and transparency of tariffs, Guyana scored 0.
During a recent engagement at the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM), United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann-Lynch had observed that war-torn countries like Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza received a better ranking when it comes to doing business than Guyana.
But it gets worse, as, in fact, these countries received a better ranking when it comes to electricity supply as well. For instance, Iraq was rated at 61.73 out of 100 for getting electricity, though its cost per capita and reliability of supply were worse and similar, respectively, compared to Guyana.
When it comes to the West Bank and Gaza, these countries were scored at 74.16 out of 100 in terms of electricity accessibility. They also received a 5 out of 8 in terms of reliability of supply and transparent rates, though the World Bank found their electricity inordinately expensive on a per capita basis.
In the Caribbean, nearby Trinidad scored 84.30 out of a 100 in terms of access to electricity, while the cost per capita was just $199. When it comes to reliability of supply, the twin-island republic scored 6 out of 8.
In Barbados, the island scored 65.12 out of 100 for access to electricity and 6 out of 8 in terms of reliability. The cost per capita, meanwhile, was $61.3. Jamaica also scored better than Guyana, not only in its ease of doing business, but also its electricity supply. The island scored 64.96 in its 0 to 100 score for electricity access, with a cost per capita of $203 and a reliability score of 5 out of a scale of 0 to 8.
Meanwhile, the United States, with a population of over 300 million, received a score for its citizenry’s access to electricity of 82.15 out of 100. On the other hand, the individual cost per capita is $22.9.
The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, which was initiated under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration, could have been generating about 50 per cent more electricity than the entire GPL supply at the time in 2012. But the project was scrapped by the coalition administration who had controlled the National Assembly by a one-seat majority. Before assuming office, the APNU/AFC’s refusal to endorse AFHEP forced the main developer, Sithe Global, to walk away from the project. APNU and AFC claimed they were awaiting an evaluation from the IDB, which was in receipt of US$80 million from Norway that was specifically committed to AFHEP. But with no developer, the IDB declared an investigation was moot and the coalition Government had since ducked AFHEP, citing technical and financial concerns.
The unreliability of power is a major bugbear to not only ordinary citizens but also business and the manufacturing sector. It was identified by the US Ambassador during her address to the PSC as a particular problem for businesses.
Over the past month, the Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) service has been heavily criticised by ordinary citizens. This is because of regular power outages, maintenance work and announcements that there are issues with the interconnected system.
GPL had subsequently announced that it will be looking to arrange power purchase agreements with a number of private firms that generate their own electricity. This includes seeking an agreement for power from the Hope Windfarm project.
This is according to GPL’s Chief Executive Officer, Albert Gordon, who was at the time hosting a press conference last month. Gordon admitted that there are challenges with arranging the agreement with the Hope Windfarm project.
It was announced subsequently that a power purchase agreement had been concluded with the Giftland Mall. The agreement is for the business to supply five megawatts of power. Meanwhile, it had also been announced that similar discussions were ongoing with Banks DIH.