5 Jun 2008

A new kind of madness?

Rate hike will kill businesses

On June 1, I turned my TV to channel 3 in time to see the Week in Review programme. One item in particular caught my attention. Dennis Pantin was speaking about the new T&TEC rates.

As a small business operator I was interested in what he had to say because I had just two days earlier paid an electricity bill in excess of $11,000.

He said the residential rates for people using less than 400 kwh would be reduced and those using 401 and up would remain the same.

That's not too bad but then came the shocker. Commercial rates currently at $1.15 per kwh will be increased to an amount in excess of $5 per kwh.

I was so shocked by this announcement that only the five registered with me. Did I hear right, was I just having a nightmare? My already exorbitant electricity bill could now balloon to a figure in excess of $55,000?

Immediately thoughts of closing shop ran through my head. What utter madness is this? Is the Ministry of Trade and Commerce aware of this or fully behind this? Are you aware of how many small businesses will have to cease operations or how many more people will find themselves on the welfare line? I cannot call it the breadline since bakeries will be the first establishments to go.

Please, Pantin, tell me this is not a broad-brush proposal and that some alternate arrangements will be made for the small businesses. Please clarify this point.

Richard Deane

Diego Martin