OPM jus­ti­fies de­ci­sion not to re­duce en­ergy rates, says tar­iffs al­ready low

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The govern­ment yes­ter­day jus­ti­fied its de­ci­sion not to lower en­ergy rates in the bud­get for 2017, say­ing that the tar­iffs paid are al­ready among the low­est in Europe.

Four days after con­sti­tuted bod­ies lashed out at the govern­ment and com­plained that the en­ergy rate cuts they were ex­pect­ing were not de­liv­ered, the govern­ment is­sued a state­ment yes­ter­day evening to ex­plain its po­si­tion.

Ini­tially, Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat had said that it was only the Op­po­si­tion leader who was ex­pect­ing en­ergy rate cuts, but one after the other em­ploy­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tions lam­basted the govern­ment for not low­er­ing the tar­iffs.

In its state­ment yes­ter­day, the govern­ment said that in April of last year, elec­tric­ity prices for busi­nesses were re­duced by 25%, which re­sulted in an an­nual €50m in­jec­tion in the econ­omy. Stan­dard and Poor’s also con­firmed that, as a re­sult of the trans­for­ma­tion of the en­ergy sec­tor, elec­tric­ity tar­iffs are now well within the EU av­er­age.

Euro­stat sta­tis­tics, the govern­ment said, also demon­strate Malta’s stand­ing in this re­spect. Around 90% of busi­nesses in Malta use less than 20 Megawatt Hours. In this band of elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion by SMEs, the rate per kilo­watt hour in Malta is 12% cheaper than the EU av­er­age. In 2012, rates in this band were 13% more ex­pen­sive than the EU av­er­age.

10% of Mal­tese firms con­sume be­tween 20 and 500 Megawatt Hours. In this cat­e­gory of larger com­pa­nies, the rate per kilo­watt hour in Malta is 7% cheaper than the EU av­er­age. In 2012, rates in this band were 24% more ex­pen­sive than the EU av­er­age.

The Euro­stat data also shows that the prices paid by the very large con­sumers (0.5% of Mal­tese com­pa­nies) with us­age of be­tween 500 and 2000 Megawatt Hours are within the EU av­er­age.

It is noted that, as hap­pens in Malta, it is nor­mal that do­mes­tic con­sumers pay less for en­ergy than busi­ness con­sumers in other EU coun­tries. In Malta, do­mes­tic rates were re­duced ear­lier in April 2014.

The re­duc­tion in elec­tric­ity prices in Malta were also com­ple­mented with an €80m dis­tri­bu­tion in­vest­ment plan which re­sulted in an 80% re­duc­tion in power out­ages when com­pared to 2012. The lev­els of out­ages in Malta is no longer sim­i­lar to those in many East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries but now com­pares well with Aus­tria, France and the United King­dom.

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