Padarath: NGC subsidy will determine new utility rates

Barry Padarath -
Barry Padarath -

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath has said the government needs to inform the public of the status of the subsidies paid by the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (TTEC) to the National Gas Company (NGC).

Padarath was speaking at the Opposition’s weekly media conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition on Sunday.

He said NGC provided the natural gas that TTEC used to produce electricity, which is provided at a subsidised cost.

He said the government has not informed the public of the status of the subsidy, which will determine TTEC rates.

“The Minister of Finance (Colm Imbert) made it very clear that the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) would be presenting revised water and electricity rates.”

He said the government has not said whether the subsidy would be removed in whole or in part and what TTEC would now have to pay.

He said negotiations were concluded at Cabinet level and the prices are already fixed.

“I am asking the government to advise the population if they have removed the subsidy. The RIC would use that to determine the new rates. The government is using the RIC as a scape goat, giving the population the idea that the government is not involved in prices.”

He said the RIC is appointed by Cabinet. “While the RICs statutory obligation is to remain independent they cannot claim to be independent if they are appointed by politicians.

“When these rates being proposed by the RIC comes forward, they cannot put those rates into effect until they consult with the people. We need to know before any new rates are introduced. What is the price negotiated by the NGC and TTEC?”

He also called on the RIC to hold on releasing the rates. “They cannot put those rates into effect until they consult with the people.”

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