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Le Hunte laments T&T’s appetite for waste
T&T’s heavily subsided electricity rate causes it to be used inefficiently, says Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities.
“This has to do with our unfortunate appetite for waste in Trinidad and Tobago. The people of Trinidad and Tobago currently benefit from an electricity rate that at US5.2 cents per kilowatt before tax, is one sixth of what is paid in neighbouring countries. Unfortunately the heavy subsidization of our electricity, while encouraging development, has also led us to develop habits and lifestyles that are not energy efficient,” he said on the second day of the Energy Chamber’s Clean Energy Conference at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School, Mt Hope.
Le Hunte said the conference came at a “critical juncture” in the development of the country.
“T&TEC has over 425,000 customers and the reality is that 50 percent actually have a bill under $300 so that means another 50 per cent utilise the bills with over $300, so that 50 per cent of customers benefit from that 80 per cent of all the gas that goes towards producing the energy that goes to producing electricity,” he revealed.
The minister said this has to influence Government policy on who receives subsidies in the future.
“Should our subsidies be blanket as they are, or should they be more targeted where we really take care of those who cannot pay? Those who could pay we try as much as possible to ensure that they do pay, especially now that there is only one pool of money, and whether you give the subsidy here you are actually not allowed to give it in other areas,” he said.
Le Hunte said in an effort to change the existing mindset, the Ministry of Public Utilities and T&TEC will be instituting an aggressive public awareness campaign on conservation and efficient use of electricity.
He added: “The Ministry of Public Utilities is in the process of preparing policy outlines outlining the ways in which government ministries can efficiently conserve electricity will soon be presented for implementation.”
He urged private businesses to get involved in the clean energy business. “We are now going to be looking as we go forward for the private sector to take the lead in the investment side of that business. This is an open field, this is a growth industry. This is time for the private sector to step up to the plate,” he said.
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