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The Great Energy Proposal

I followed the example of a facebook comment uploaded on another blog to work out the savings my household will make with Labour's energy proposals.

Our bill for of €717.80 for 7 months is divided into:

An electricity service charge of €36.86
Electricity consumption of €404.83
A water service charge of €33.46
Water consumption of €242.65

Through the new tariff scheme, reducing the electricity consumption bill by 25% and the water consumption bill by 5%, our bill will read:

An electricity service charge of €36.86
Electricity consumption of €303.62
A water service charge of €33.46
Water consumption of €230.52

A total of €604.46 for the same 7 months. A reduction of €16.20 a month.

But this reduction comes at what price?



This grand plan, the one we have been expecting for all these years, will materialize if we find a private investor ready to fork out €500 million in capital investment, if we reach a 10-year fixed price agreement, if we manage to build two high storage tanks for storing LNG, if we find the necessary shipping vessels available to transport LNG, and consists of choosing the private investor who will build a power-station on our land based on an expression of interest and without a proper tendering process and without the need of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

But the crux of the plan is not that. The real issue is that even if all goes as planned, as soon as these 10 years of fixed-price electricity supply are over, our country will be at the mercy of a private investor controlling a monopoly of 40% of our energy supply, who will need to recoup the capital invested plus profits plus any losses he made in the first 10 years plus the extra hike in the price of gas compared to today, and from whom we will be tied to buy our electricity requirements without any grounds for a good negotiating position.

Not only that, but this private investor will also own the LNG terminal through which even Enemalta will have to purchase the gas needed for the generating plant it will retain.

And politically, as much as I am in favour of privatisation, I think it should only apply in the context of a free market and not to monopolies, especially in such an essential commodity like energy. And such a plan which will determine the energy policy of not only the next 5, but the next 25 years, should never have been discussed in the heat of an electoral campaign.

Unless this is being done for one sole reason: that if it wins the next election, Labour wants to use the excuse of having an 'electoral mandate' to forge ahead with this plan without any serious discussion on the pros and cons of other alternatives. Just as it did with VAT back in 1996. The end justifying the means.

I know many of us tend to immaturely vote according on what goes in or out our pockets rather than looking at the bigger picture. But for €16 a month, is it really worth the risk?


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