TTEC rates must be reviewed

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FILE PHOTO: The TTEC service centre on Broadway, Port of Spain. – SUREASH CHOLAI

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales says there is need to review the electricity rates as government looks at ways to ease dependence of the TT Electricity Commission (TTEC) on the government and pay off their debt to the National Gas Company (NGC).

Gonzales made the announcement during his contribution on a motion to adopt the report of the Standing Finance Committee in Parliament on Wednesday, in which he reported that $108 million of his ministry’s allocation will be directed to paying loans taken by TTEC.

He said his ministry was committed to strengthening the reliability of electricity to all citizens but noted that as citizens continued to pay relatively “low rates” for electricity there may be need to revisit this price structure.

“We have to continue with a reliable electricity service for this country and to avoid what is taking place in the water sector where some of our communities have to be placed on a water schedule.

“We cannot afford to do the same for our electricity and therefore we have to empower TTEC to be able to raise its own financing and to remove it from the dependence on state covers for operational expenses to pay that outstanding sum to the NGC to the tune of $2.2 billion

“At the appropriate time we will have to revisit the rates we pay for electricity service, and to come up with a structure whilst protecting the very vulnerable in the society but to ensure our electricity company has the financial capacity to undertake routine maintenance and the stability in the provision of the electricity service to the people.”

Gonzales said TT paid one of the lowest rates for electricity in the Commonwealth with $0.33 per kilowatt, while St Lucia paid TT $1.76 per kilowatt, Barbados paying TT $1.90 per kilowatt and Canada paying $0.81 kilowatt of electricity.

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