Chamber welcomes EU challenge over high energy prices

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Chamber welcomes EU challenge over high energy pricesThe Malta Chamber welcomes the commitment of the EU Heads of State and Government to foster Europe’s competitiveness by challenging high energy prices.

The Malta Chamber is supporting the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, EUROCHAMBRES, in its call on EU leaders to turn their commitment into concrete actions by creating a cost-effective strategy to move towards renewable energy, and putting every effort in the conclusion of an international climate change agreement.

According to news that has just emerged from Eurostat figures, Malta’s average industrial electricity prices remain the highest in the EU and this undoubtedly threatens the long-term sustainability of Maltese business.

Malta Chamber President, Mr David G. Curmi said, “energy rates are a sensitive issue which directly affects the costs and cash-flows of business operations. The situation exerts serious implications on Malta’s competiveness and attractiveness to new investment, and on its ability to retain existing industry in the long term. Consequently, appropriate and affordable energy solutions for the immediate term also need to be found in the interest of business.”

Meanwhile, last week, Mr Curmi met Dr Konrad Mizzi, Minister for Energy and the Conservation of Water, where the Malta Chamber presented an in-depth report on the effect of utility tariffs on business and industry and the impact on national competitiveness. The report, which was finalised in December 2012, presents comparative data of utility rates and the effective costs to business in Malta and the rest of the European Union.

All comparisons in the report pointed towards an unfavourable cost position for business energy users in Malta. Consequently, the Malta Chamber reiterated its proposals in favour of:

i) Joint purchasing by high-energy users to allow negotiation of cheaper energy tariffs

ii) Flexibility to consumers by allowing them to opt for:

a) fixed tariffs for a number of months ahead or

b) a variable tariff

iii) The introduction of night tariffs to allow for lower rates during off-peak demand periods for electricity

iv) A Dedicated Unit within Enemalta/ARMS to provide more efficient services to business and high users

v) Allowing discounts to high users which are justifiable by lower distribution costs

At this meeting, the Minister accepted an invitation to address Chamber members in an event which will be held in June.

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