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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Government’s extended electrification programme – transforming 220 communities

- first phase nearing completion

 

Georgetown, GINA, February 12, 2006

“It’s literally coming out of darkness into light. Having electricity for the first time is simply wonderful. I don’t know how to explain it but I am proud that my children will now have the chance to study and do better. It’s good to know that after a hard day’s work I can relax and watch some television.”

This is how Chaitram Singh, a beneficiary of one of the Region Three areas currently receiving electricity under government’s Unserved Areas Electricity Programme (UAEP), summed it up.

The UAEP has been one of the major accomplishments of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, which aims to supply power to approximately 50,000 households living in currently unserved areas, as government continues its thrust of providing better living standards.

Following the rapid expansion of the housing sector over the last few years, a number of new housing schemes and other residential communities have been created or regularised countrywide that includes low and middle-income housing development projects.

In some cases, the urgent need to provide adequate housing for many families exceeded government’s ability to provide immediate infrastructure.

In view of this, government acquired a multi-billion dollar loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to fund the programme that saw its genesis, on September 3, 2004. Government and the IDB signed an agreement for a US$27.5 loan contract, part of a wider US$34.4M programme which seeks to electrify approximately 220 communities in various regions across the country.

Executed by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL), the programme caters for the provision of electricity to emerging communities, as well as others previously established which have been without power supply along with a hinterland component.

Beneficiaries

The programme which commenced in July 2005 will facilitate the provision of electricity to 65 communities in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six.

Even though work in this current phase had to be suspended at Black Bush Polder, due to inclement weather, contractors have been able to complete all primary and secondary connections in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam),Three, Four Five and Six including planting electricity poles and installing power-lines and transformers.

Government stood the household infrastructure cost which ranged from $60,000 – $90,000 depending on the locations, however, some of the far-flung areas not within the proximity of GPL’s network would cost government much more since contractors would have to purchase additional materials to extend the service.

Despite the challenges, the programme is almost 80 percent into its work programme and the contractors are still aiming for the April 2006 deadline.

Areas already benefiting

Several communities in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five and Six are currently benefiting from the programme.

Regions Beneficiaries

TwoHenrietta and Richmond, Charity, the Jibb, Lima, Dairy, La Belle Alliance, Suddie New Housing Suddie Sand Pitt, Bush Lot Pomona

Three Zeelugt South, Patentia, Tuschen North, Vergenoegen South, Prem Nagar, Cornelia Ida, Crane, Zeelugt North, Parika Stewartville

Four Sophia Block ‘AA’, ‘E’, Cummings Lodge Area Y, Turkeyen Section C,D, Mosquito Hall, Pattensen, Strathspey Area G, Foulis, Block 1&2 Coldingen, Goedverwagting South, Paradise South, Waterloo and Hope

Six Rotterdam, Lansdale, Kortberaad and Brothers and Sisters,

Infrastructure completed

Region Two -all nine communities are completed

Region Three -eight out of 12 areas

Region Four -10 out of 18 areas

Region Five -10 out of 12 areas

Region Six -six out of 13 areas

In many of the earmarked areas, the infrastructure is completed but GPL is awaiting payment from residents as this aspect will determine the rate of connection.

Meter boxes

Construction Manager of the UAEP, Kumar Sharma said that 20,000 meter boxes are expected soon and this will help to accelerate the house-to-house interconnection process.

The supply of electricity poles, he indicated, has been somewhat slow, but has not significantly inhibited progress.

SIMAP’s input

One of government’s executing agencies; the Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP) is funding part of the current programme at a cost of $109M, catering for the electrification of communities within Regions Three, Four, Five and Six.

Some areas already completed under the SIMAP programme are: Number Four Village, Corentyne, Foulis Block 1&2, East Coast Demerara and Stewartville and Prem Nagar, West Coast Demerara.

Phase 11

The second phase of the UAEP is expected to commence in 2007. The programme will run concurrently with a hinterland component.

UAEP commenced in July, 2005 and is being executed by three contractors - Cummings Electrical, Power Lines Construction Company and Dynamic Engineering.

In order to speed up the interconnection process, residents can do the following:

  • Ensure that building is professionally wired and certified by the electrical inspectorate of the Ministry of Public Works.
  • Submit completed application forms.
  • Make payment of $10,000 for meter and interconnection ($2,000 minimum part payment), in addition to $5,000 security deposit.
  • When making payments take along proof of property ownership/lease agreement/transport/land allocation letter/agreement of sale or Power of Attorney and National Identification Card or Passport.

Under this administration, development is visible everywhere and government has continually affirmed its commitment as stated in its 2001 manifesto to better the lives of Guyanese.

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