GRTU sets out remedial plan to help impact of power & water tariffs

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GRTU sets out remdial plan to help impact of power & water tariffsGRTU Director General Vince Farrugia, on behalf of the Executive Committee of GRTU, yesterday met the Minister for Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech and Permanent Secretary Alfred Camilleri and presented to them GRTU’s analysis of the impact of the electricity tariffs on smaller businesses and a mitigation action plan.

GRTU is proposing that the Budget Schemes, specifically geared to support small businesses and agreed to with GRTU during pore-budget discussions, namely:

· The Micro-Credit Support Scheme for SMEs

· The special tax credit scheme

· The Electricity Tariff support fund

· Feed in Tariff System’ and

· The Energy Services Audit Scheme

should be immediately implemented as the new tariffs will further dampen the small and medium businesses` prospects for the first half of 2010. GRTU has estimated that 36,874 non-residential account holders will suffer a further increase in their electricity and water tariffs of 48.7% and of 25% for water. These increases will impact a 1% to 1.5% on price increase on the inflation rate should business owners opt to increase prices to cover the cost of electricity and water tariffs, or up to 1000 persons unemployed as a result of dismissals from small and medium firms to mitigate the tariff increase if no remedial plan is immediately implemented. GRTU’s mitigation points are as follows:

Electricity

· Quicker implementation of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan, including plans for assistance for energy saving investments and higher feed in tariff rates

· Power Conservation Programme: Set up a quota allocation benchmarked on usage in Year 2005. This would give an allocation on the bill to those diminishing their quota so that small and medium enterprises can benefit from reduced tariffs

· Eco-Rebates for SMEs according to the energy conservation programme

· Increase funding for Energy Audits to all economic sectors

· Introduce a two billing system by Enemalta. One based on a guaranteed price and another multi tier option. This gives enterprises the option to buy one year special rates depending on the electricity insensitivity of the service or product they produce

· Traffic lights and public lighting to be converted to operate by solar power

Water

· Rental fees for meter to be removed and included as part of a tariff structure

· Distribution costs which have risen alarmingly in the last two years need to be identified so that a verified monetary value is only included in the tariff structure

· A standard tariff for a year use payable upfront would be inclusive of a particular discount factor. One tier option for all other users with a billing structure that has a discount for early billing through electronic sources

· Water Audit Scheme: Firms should be assisted to produce these audits and reduced tariffs offered on implementation

· Long term rebate plan for industries/hotels utilizing better technologies for both water use and distribution

GRTU has also advised the Minister to analyse all views of social partner representatives on MCESD and to attend MCESD and present an approved and agreed mitigation plan for implementation by end January 2010.

GRTU

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