Gov’t being stubborn about Linden electricity tariff increases – Region Ten Chairman
The government’s intention to press ahead with electricity tariff increases for the town of Linden, is continuing to meet with resistance from Lindeners.
Region Ten Chairman Sharma Solomon says that the government is being stubborn and refusing to understand the grounds under which Lindeners are rejecting the increased tariffs.
“It is not that Lindeners don’t want to pay; the issue is that they are unable to pay,” Solomon told Kaieteur News.
The government has said that the increases will take effect from July 1.
This week, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon said that it was logical that the budgetary cut of about $1B in the subsidy to the Guyana Power and Light Company would lead to increases in tariffs in Linden.
Dr Luncheon said that the government had unveiled a model for tariff increases. “This model was hammered out in conjunction with members of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), but this was subsequently reneged on,” the HPS reminded.
“Notwithstanding the $1B decrease in subsidy to Guyana Power and Light, Lindeners would see a minimal increase of about 50 percent of the rate in the rest of the national grid,” Dr Luncheon stated.
The subsidy in Region Ten has seen only two tariff rates; residential and commercial. This is different to what obtains in the rest of the grid; whereby there is a differentiation among business, commercial and industrial. These tariffs are present everywhere else in Guyana with the exception of Region Ten.
Lindeners currently pay $12 to $15 per kilowatt hour, while the rest of the grid at the lowest level in the commercial category pays $63 per kilowatt hour.
The Region Ten chairman said that the people of Linden are prepared to demonstrate to stakeholders that they are unable to pay the increased tariffs.
He said that the unemployment rate in Linden is 70 per cent and this demonstrates that the town is a depressed community.
As far as Sharma sees it, the government is intent on painting a picture that says the people of Linden are but a “bunch of beggars” and should pay up.
However, he said that that is far from the truth, and that the people of Linden are prepared to show that with high unemployment rates and poor living conditions, a hike in electricity tariffs is unjustified.
Sharma said that the people of Linden would be seeking the help of both opposition parties in Parliament.