Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath is calling on the government and the RIC to hold its hands on implementing increases to water and electricity rates. This comes on the heels of the admission by the Public Utilities Minister that WASA has sent its business plan to the RIC already. Therefore, this will result in back to back rate increases in electricity and water rates in the coming months.
Padarath said that he took note of the announcement by the Central Statistical Office that data collection on living conditions and poverty rates will be conducted between February 2023 and January 2024. Padarath added that the Regulated Industries Commission has publicly stated that they are currently working with similar data collected and analyzed in 2009 and that is unacceptable.
The Princes Town MP is calling on both the government and the RIC to halt any moves to increase rates and instead focus on the data collection to determine the income levels as well as the poverty levels since part of the rate review pursuant to the RIC Act says that the RIC and the Minister must consider the ability of citizens to pay increased rates.
The Opposition Shadow Minister for Public Utilities further stated that against the backdrop of massive unemployment, high crime, high food prices, runaway inflation and high cost of living, a back to back increase in utility rates would have a disastrous impact on citizens, essentially wiping out the middle and lower classes.