Residents of Kwakwani will now be benefiting from improved electricity supply thanks to the commissioning of a 900-kilowatt generator engine by the Kwakwani Utilities Inc (KUI).
Prime Minister Mark Phillips on Friday, November 20, 2020, commissioned a 900-kilowatt generator at Kwakwani, which is expected to lead to the Upper Demerara-Berbice community having 24-hour electricity.
The Prime Minister called the event momentous for community development, indicating that “what the PPP/C Government has done here is a shining example for the rest of Guyana. Kwakwani residents can boast now of having adequate electricity, with the addition of the 900KW generator commissioned, the power plan will generate over two megawatts of power.
This added capacity will give KUI current generation capabilities and will provide much-needed diversification, reliability and reserves to the grid which would provide the community with enough electrical power to sustain the community that will now be able to produce 24 hours of electricity to Kwakwani and residents that will see improvement of business opportunities, the water distribution to the homes of residents but most importantly paving the way for new investors and opportunities for industrial development in Kwakwani and surrounding communities. As simple as this commissioning ceremony may have seemed, it was significant to the more than 4000 residents in the Kwakwani district, community leaders and residents who must be proud of our Government’s efforts and commitment to our hinterland communities, where there are vast plains in this country’s interior that (house roughly 20 per cent of our population).
These lands are home to most of Guyana’s Indigenous population, where electricity is unstable and scarce. Our PPP/C Administration, led by President Irfaan Ali, has stepped to the plate, vouching to continue the PPP/C Government Hinterland Electrification Project launched in 2011 which is a reality in Kwakwani, aimed at expanding access to clean and affordable energy throughout Indigenous communities. An important first step has been to procure 25,000 solar panels from India to supply power to households in those areas.
One must remember that it was under the previous APNU/AFC Administration there were lots complaints and dissatisfaction which forced residents of Kwakwani to go to the streets and protest the KUI’s poor quality of water and electricity supply in the area. The disgruntled residents had long been complaining about the poor quality of water they receive, as well as the constant fluctuation in power supply, with electricity at times going off for eight hours during the day.
With the challenges experienced over the years, Kwakwani’s KUI management must establish a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan with an attractive apprenticeship programme, for longevity (life expectancy of KUI) with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will measure value and demonstrate how effective KUI as a company is at achieving business objectives and evaluate success at reaching the targets to provide services, transforming its electrical transmission distribution grid to further enhance and accommodate the west bank of Kwakwani and other areas that are lacking electricity in the near future. KUI is responsible for the provision of electricity, water, television stations and other public utility services in Kwakwani.
As it stands, more Guyanese businesses rely on generators for intermittent power than any other country in the Caricom region. The latest figures show that Guyana’s installed capacity is 404 MW, with heavy fuel oil accounting for 67 per cent of energy generation; the remainder comes from automotive diesel oil (21 per cent) and biomass (12 per cent).
This heavy dependency on oil to sustain the grid, and the costs associated with it, has slowed industrialisation and discouraged businesses from settling in Guyana. Diversifying the energy sources that supply the grid, and subsequently lowering energy costs, will be a fundamental factor in Guyana’s economic development. For those reasons, President Ali and Prime Minister Mark Phillips vouched to cut energy prices by half during their tenure. They have promised to do this by introducing 400 MW of new generation capacity through a mix of hydro, gas, solar and wind power in the near future.