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Opposition not going for reduced electricity rates hike

The opposition parties have slapped down a government feeler about a compromise figure for the proposed electricity rates increase, remaining adamantly against any rates hike at this time.

Government sources on Thursday indicated to Demerara Waves Online News that consideration was being given to raising the tariffs by about 10 percent rather than the 26.7 percent that the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) wants to in compensation for a $5.2B cut from its 2013 budget.

But Leader of the Opposition David Granger late Thursday night said his coalition, the APNU, was maintaining its position.

“We’re against any increase in the tariff; we feel that the working people have got enough to bear as it is. GPPL must increase its efficiency, reduce the corruption, reduce the line losses and reduce the effects of the bad management,” he told DemWaves.

The company has said that some 31 percent of the power produced is lost in transmission and to theft and its audited accounts showed a $7.6B loss for 2012.

Meanwhile, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan saw the new figure as a realisation by the government that it had “muddled” with the call for a 26.7 percent increase.

“Their own supporters have been giving them hell over the last week since they made that call and it’s so silly they now themselves understand that 26 percent is going to kill the ordinary people.

According to him, the $5.2B could be restored later in the year if the government was to follow the measures proposed by his party. The AFC had also suggested that the government could prepay the electricity bills for its ministries and agencies which amount to more than the money cut.

“I am saying it should be no percent increase because there are ways of getting the money, and we did not block the 5.2 billion, we have deferred approval and if they can just be transparent and accountable we gonna do it,” Ramjattan said.

GPL in a release on Saturday said that the 26.7 percent increase would allow it to recover the $5.2B over an eight-month period with that being May to December 2013. The last tariff increase was done in 2008.