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Monday, March 4, 2024

We can do better for our citizens | Letters to Editor | trinidadexpress.com

The Guyanese government is securing a loan to construct a gas-to-energy project that will accomplish two things that will significantly benefit the Guyanese people.

According to VP Bharrat Jagdeo, it will reduce electricity rates by 50%, and it will also create jobs and increase foreign investments. Looking ahead, once the transition to gas project is completed, it will catalyse Guyana’s goal of becoming a green-energy state.

Meanwhile, in T&T, the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC)—essentially the Government, since the President of T&T chose the RIC board—has proposed increased 2024 electricity rates between 15% and 64% for residential customers; 37% and 51% for small businesses; and 10% and 12% for large companies, which come when many citizens are already struggling with high utility rates and the overall cost of living. Imagine that.

The poorest people will get the most considerable rate hike and the billionaires the least.

Extrapolating from the proposed decreased rate of 50%, as stated by the Guyanese government, and the T&T-proposed increases, Guyana’s lowest rate (now $0.32 per KWH) will drop to $0.16, and the new T&T residential rate will increase on average by 39.4%, from $0.32 per KWH to $0.44.

Therefore, a T&T household paying $200 monthly for electricity could see their bill increase to $278. That will make T&T the country with the highest electricity rates in the Caribbean, and Guyana the lowest.

Guyana’s government is using its resources to benefit all citizens directly, regardless of income or class, by building an infrastructure that helps the entire nation. So why is T&T focused on providing maximum benefit to wealthy corporations that already make billions in profits instead of assisting the average citizen?

Since T&T already uses gas to power our electric generators, why didn’t we see the savings redound to the average residential bill? Instead of going down, our utility rates always go in the opposite direction.

We can do better than Guyana to help our citizens—if your current electric bill is $400 every two months, that is, $200 monthly, we should halve the monthly rate and make it $100 for all residential customers whose income is less than $20,000.

The beleaguered citizens can no longer afford to have the increased cost of living drive us further into poverty with property tax, utility rates, and gas and food prices. All the Government does is tax and spend, which does nothing to help and everything to hurt us.

The two major parties are hell-bent on dragging us down to mendicant status. Isn’t it time for a new paradigm since the PNM and the UNC have failed us?

Rex Chookolingo

Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

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