In a scathing letter to the editor on Monday, former minister of Public Infrastructure and opposition member, David Patterson raised serious doubts about the government’s plan for providing reliable electricity country-wide. If such a strategy does exist, Patterson said the administration should have no qualms releasing that document for public scrutiny.
Patterson’s skepticism follows statements by Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, who recently asserted that the installation of new 46.5MW power generators was part of the government’s strategy to ensure a dependable power supply.
Patterson, known for his candid assessments, challenged the Prime Minister’s claims by highlighting the state of the electricity sector prior to 2015. He contended that there were no coherent plans in place, and the sector was on the brink of collapse. He said the power supply relied heavily on aging generators, some of which were over 35 years old, leading to the system’s unreliability.
During the five-year tenure of the coalition administration from 2015 to 2020, Patterson asserted that significant strides were made in rebuilding and improving the power sector. He said nine new generating sets with a total capacity of 63MW were purchased, increasing the company’s generating capacity by 50%. What’s more Patterson said is that this expansion was achieved without resorting to external loans, a notable departure from the previous administration’s practices.
Patterson who also had responsibility for the industry during his time as minister, emphasized that not only did the coalition government invest in new generators, but it also reduced technical and commercial losses by 5%, resulting in substantial annual savings. Patterson said his party also undertook extensive maintenance work, including the repair or upgrade of transmission lines, installation of new feeder cables, and replacement of service lines and transformers.
The former Minister also highlighted the coalition’s commitment to serving both urban and rural areas, with 60 previously unserved locations benefiting from electrification. Furthermore, GPL’s licence was amended to allow the purchase of excess generation from private renewable and non-renewable sources, fostering energy diversity and efficiency.
Patterson also questioned the current government’s adoption of energy plans initiated by the coalition administration, such as the Kingdom of Norway’s commitment to invest in solar farms and various solar power plant projects across the country. He also challenged the government to present its own comprehensive energy plan for scrutiny.