As the country braces for higher T&TEC bills this year, the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) has called for a stop to the proposed rate increase.
OWTU president general Ancel Roget made the call after delivering a letter to T&TEC chairman Romney Thomas at the company’s Mount Hope office yesterday.
Roget said it is 100 per cent against the proposal by the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) to increase T&TEC’s residential customers’ rates by 15 to 64 per cent, and move to bill customers on a monthly basis versus the present bi-monthly billing system.
He said while industrial and commercial customers may be able to afford it, the increase will be detrimental to residential customers who include the elderly, single parents, unemployed citizens and the majority of the population that’s already suffering from the increasingly high cost of living.
Roget said there were two main reasons for T&TEC’s financial challenges, the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and a $1.3 billion debt owed by the Government.
Roget said: “While residential customers pay their light bill promptly, failing which they are immediately disconnected, the state is allowed to amass over $1.3 billion in debt to T&TEC. This is both economically unwise and unfair to ordinary people.”
“T&TEC’s inability to effectively and adequately collect this debt from the state is untenable and must be addressed urgently. Therefore, the Government must immediately review these onerous Power Purchase Agreements, thus ensuring that these independent producers of electricity pay NGC for the gas. Additionally, the Government must pay its outstanding $1.3 billion dollars of electricity bills and going forward must pay on time.”
Roget said once these issues are addressed, T&TEC would not need to increase its rates for regular customers. He also said once the price of electricity increases, the cost of many other goods and services will also go up and citizens should not have to bear another burden after the pandemic.