GEORGETOWN – The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has dealt with 366 complaints for the first nine months of 2016.
These statistics were revealed by the Chairman of the commission, Justice Prem Persaud. The chairman said that 300 were from the Guyana Telephone & Telegraph (GTT) customers; 63 from Guyana Power & Light (GPL) customers; three from the Guyana Water Authority (GWI) customers and none from Digicel’s customers.
Justice Persaud said that the month of July recorded the highest number of complaints -47; with 40 coming from GTT customers, six from GPL, one from GWI, and none from Digicel’s customers.
The most recent recorded data revealed that for the month of September, 42 complaints were received; 38 were from GTT customers, four from GPL customers and none from GWI and Digicel, according to Justice Persaud.
The chairman explained that from the 42 complaints for the month of September, four were resolved and 38 are actively being pursued by the commission.
Additionally, the chairman pointed out that the PUC receives numerous complaints from GPL customers.
However, he explained that often times when meter readers visit homes, these are not accessible due to the family being at work and the gate is locked or the dogs are loose, thus estimation occurs.
The estimation is often times in excess of the actual consumers’ consumption, the chairman said, thus resulting in complaints from customers.
Justice Persaud said that GPL is incurring losses due to stealing averaging about 15 percent yearly.
“GPL also suffers from what you call technical losses in the system. If something happens over the weekend, something trips off, you have to replace the wire, replace the generator, which adds up to losses, hence the government has to supplement the cost,” the chairman said.
He pointed out that in 2006, non-technical losses stood at 26.1 per cent. Converted to monetary value this was equivalent to $7.7 billion.
Over the years, the company has been reducing these losses in small increments and by 2015, non-technical losses has been reduced to 15.9 percent.
Justice Persaud stated that non-technical losses cost the company $73.961 Billion (US$369.8M) in the last ten years, and this has taken into consideration the opportunity loss from electricity theft that should have been translated to sales.
This loss, in conjunction with technical losses, and high fuel prices over the years, hindered the company from making significant upgrades to its current infrastructure, resulting in major investments being put on hold for years.
Last year, GPL lost $2.6 billion to stealing and tampering with meters and lines; while $4.8 billion was lost in opportunity costs (high fuel prices etc.), which amounted to a total loss of $7.4 billion.
From 2006 to 2015, GPL has seen $73,961,132,091 in losses; $38,716,824,689 was from commercial loss and $35,244,307,402 from opportunity loss.