T&TEC rate increase before Cabinet

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TTEC said power to Tobago was restored within minutes after a disturbance at the Cove Power Station, on Wednesday, led to a island-wide outage. – JEFF K MAYERS

MINISTER of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales says Cabinet is currently mulling an increase in electricity rates proposed by the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) two weeks ago.

That update came in response to questions from Newsday after a well commissioning ceremony at the Freeport Waterworks plant on Wednesday.

Gonzales said he had met with TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) chairman Romney Thomas on the matter before putting it to Cabinet.

He was unable to say when the public could expect a decision.

“I would never pre-empt the deliberations of the Cabinet.”

On October 19, the RIC announced a new price ceiling for electricity rates for the period 2023 to 2027.

The new tariffs were an increase between 15 and 126 per cent depending on the type of customer.

If adopted it would be the first time electricity rates have been adjusted in TT in 17 years.

The RIC’s new terms and conditions also allow for an annual rate review and mandate that the current bi-monthly billing cycle be reduced to a monthly one.

While the rates proposed by the RIC were the maximum that T&TEC could charge for electricity, the commission can determine where it sets the new tariffs.

If done at the allowed maximum, T&TEC could see a 50 per cent increase in revenue ($1.6 billion) in the first year alone.

On Wednesday, Gonzales said, given that T&TEC is owned by the government, the Cabinet would decide the new rates.

“The government has to give policy directive to T&TEC as to whether or not it can collect rates as approved by the RIC and that is the reason why the matter is before the Government.”