GUYANA POWER & LIGHT INC. (GPL) is the sole official supplier of electricity in Guyana, South America with its franchise area encompassing all three counties of Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo. GPL supplies all its domestic customers with voltage ranging from 110 to 220 Volts depending on the area. The voltage distribution system of GPL is quite unique since it delivers both 50 and 60 cycle power.
Prior to 1st October, 1999, the Company, then named the Guyana Electricity Corporation was wholly owned by the Government of Guyana. A 50/50 equity partnership was established between the Government of Guyana and a consortium comprising the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) of the United Kingdom and the Electricity Supply Board International (ESBI) of Ireland which brought into being the new Company, GPL. This partnership dissolved in April 2003 and GPL reverted to 100 percent ownership by the government and people of Guyana. This arrangement still stands at present.
BRIEF HISTORICAL REVIEW OF ELECTRICITY IN GUYANA
Electricity generation in Guyana began before the turn of the twentieth century with several individual entities, private/community enterprises providing their own power. Georgetown, a relatively small enclave, received power from a private supplier. The mining areas of Linden and Everton (Upper Berbice) received power from Alcan and Reynolds, both expatriate companies that respectively owned the Mackenzie (Linden) and Berbice-based bauxite operations. The municipality of New Amsterdam was powered by another private entrepreneur. Here is the chronology of Electricity Suppliers in Guyana over the past century: The International Power Company (IPC) of Canada was in operation in Georgetown at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Demerara Electric Company was established in 1925 when it purchased the assets of IPC. The British Guiana Electricity Company (BGEC) came into being in 1957, and in 1960 it purchased the assets of the Demerara Electric Company. After Independence in May 1966, the BGEC was nationalized and the Guyana Electricity Company (GEC) was established, wholly owned by the state. Thirty three years later, the Government of Guyana divested 50 percent of its ownership and control and the company was renamed Guyana Power & Light Inc. The investor was a UK-based consortium comprising the Electricity Supply Board International (ESBI) and the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC). The divestiture failed and the company once again became wholly owned by the state on 1st May 2003 to (the time). GPL employs over 1200 workers countrywide, with a multitude of industrial and administrative skills.