Monday 14 October, 2019

Budget 2018: Water, electricity rates to be reviewed

Government will carry out a rate assessment exercise to review water and electricity rates, which is due to be completed by 2018.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) will be carrying out a rate determination exercise for both T&TEC and WASA, to be completed in 2018. 

Imbert said the last rate reviews were conducted in 1993 and 2006, respectively. 

Based on the results of the rate assessment, citizens may find their utility bills increasing. 

Speaking during Monday's 2017/2018 Budget presentation in Parliament, Finance Minister Colm Imbert revealed that the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) receives up to $2 billion in subsidies but is still in debt. 

Imbert said among three state entities - WASA, T&TEC and Petrotrin, over $3 billion taxpayers' dollars is diverted or lost every year.

"It cannot be business as usual for our public utilities. It is obvious to the taxpayers of this country that the business models adopted by our utilities have not been successful."

"The Water and Sewage Authority (WASA), receives an average annual subsidy of over $2 billion a year to assist it in paying salaries, servicing debt, paying suppliers, carrying out repairs and undertaking its development projects. However, despite such massive financial assistance from the State, WASA is financially challenged and struggles to pay its bills on a daily basis," he said.

Imbert said additionally, Government has outlined several improvement projects for water and electricity systems throughout Trinidad and Tobago. 

"As an initial step, we are strengthening the managerial processes and governance for our public utility systems, we're ensuring the delivery of services by public utilities meets best practice in order to improve the level and quality of the standard of living for our citizens."

Imbert said that national electricity grid is being expanded, with upgrades being done at electricity stations at Pinto Road, Arima, St James, Bamboo, St Joseph, Westmoorings and at Union Road, San Fernando. 

Additionally, Tobago's generating capacity will be expanded from 75 to 95 megawatts, and the island's water supply will be strengthened with the installation of an additional 27 kilometres of transition pipelines.

Government has also improved the water production network, providing 45 kilometres of new mains from the Caroni Water Treatment Plant to the San Fernando Booster Pump station, as well as five kilometres of new mains from Maloney Street, San Juan to the Santa Cruz Booster Station. 

Reservoirs at Guanapo, Hololo, Quare and Four Roads, Diego Martin will also be upgraded. 

Additionally, Imbert said $50M has been allocated for the audit of state enterprises, which will be carried out in 2018.

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