Guyana Power and Light
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Guyana Power and Light is a utility company in Guyana, providing electric power in the country. As of 1 May 2003, it is entirely owned by the Government of Guyana. Its distribution system is unique because it supplies both 50 and 60 cycle power. Domestic voltage can be 110 or 220 depending on the area. GPL employs over 1200 workers countrywide.
Guyana Power and Light is the main official supplier of electricity in Guyana, South America with its franchise area encompassing the entire three counties of Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo.
Prior to 1 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.
Brief historical review of electricity in Guyana
Electricity generation in Guyana started out before the turn of the twentieth century as 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.
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 1 May 2003.