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Private Sector Commission welcomes lower electricity rates; expects drop in some prices

Last Updated on Monday, 9 February 2015, 18:57 by GxMedia

The Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) headquarters

Guyana’s umbrella business organisation, Private Sector Commission (PSC), on Monday welcomed government’s announcement of a 10 percent reduction in electricity rates and hoped that consumers would benefit.

“Since the reduction in electricity costs will contribute to a reduction in production costs of both manufacturers and service providers, the Commission would also like to see the cost of other energy-dependent goods and services going down. It is therefore calling on its members to pass any reductions on to their customers,” the PSC  said in a statement.

Reacting to President Donald Ramotar’s announcement of a slash in tariffs at the commissioning of the Vreed-en-Hoop Power Station, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ramesh Persaud said businesses’ would be relieved.

“We are looking forward to it. We very much welcome it,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. “A ten percent reduction in electricity cost is a substantial decrease for more businesses.

 I don’t expect it to be the full 30 percent of fuel prices reduced but at least it’s a positive move in the right direction,” he added.

The tariff reduction takes effect March 2015.

The PSC Chairman said that while his organisation did not make any specific proposals for the tariff reduction but had made out a case to Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh for the state-owned Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to be self-sustainable without any subsidy.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon had initially ruled out a tariff reduction, arguing that government had been already providing a hefty subsidy to the power company to cushion the impact of international oil prices and other operating costs.

Governments last month announced a 30 percent reduction in the prices of gasoline, kerosene and diesel, but so far its expectation of reduced transportation costs have fallen on deaf ears. Bus operators, for the most part, continue to charge the same fares prior to the reduction in fuel prices.

In this regard, the PSC called on transportation providers to lower their fares. The Private Sector Commission would like to urge the purveyors of public transportation services to follow suit and reduce the cost of their services so that commuters can benefit from the drop in the price of fuel,” said the organisation.

The United Minibus Union’s President, Eon Andrews is already on record as saying that his organisation was unwilling to approve a fare reduction because other operational costs remain high. He has floated the idea of free minibus rides for school children during off-peak hours and pensioners at any time.

The international price of oil has fallen steadily during the past several months due to higher production of shale oil by the United States and lower output by oil-cartel countries due, in part, to geo-political reasons.

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February 2015