THE Oilfield Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) says it "strongly opposes" the recent rate-increase proposals for electricity by the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) when it comes to residential customers.
On Friday morning, OWTU president general Ancel Roget and other union members delivered a letter addressed to the chairman of the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) Romney Thomas to the commission's Mt Hope office.
In December, the RIC proposed increases in electricity rates of between 15 and 64 per cent, depending on consumption.
It also proposed three changes to residential rates, including a monthly billing cycle instead of a bill every two months, a widening of the tiers of consumption for payments and the introduction of a fourth consumption tier – higher than 1,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Roget said he had been warning the public for "quite a while" about T&TEC's "inefficient operations."
He added that this was a result of bad government policies, which often lead to "ordinary people having to "bear the brunt or adverse effect."
He believes any increase in electricity rates will bring "additional strain and burden on the population that is already overburdened.
He also made it clear: "We have no problem with multi-national corporations, large companies and industrial customers paying more for electricity from which they derive huge profits."
But the average person, he said, is already dealing with a high cost of living.
He urged the government to consider retirees, those with fixed income, unemployed people, young families, the self-employed, single parent households and those who are poor.
In December, Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales said a utility cash card system to allow the most vulnerable to be able to get electricity.
"How much more can we bear?" Roget pleaded.
Reminding the public that the State owes T&TEC billions of dollars, he said government seems to be trying to shift the weight of that debt on to the ordinary man.
OWTU first vice president Reesa Ramlogan-Jodha said both during and after the height of the covid19 pandemic, people made a lot adjustments to their personal lives to survive.
"How much more can we sacrifice?" she asked.
She said the financial struggle of many families is "so real" and they may no longer be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel if these increases are implemented.