Government announces Electricity Cost Reduction

The Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Asim Martin proposes to subsidize the fuel charge to all residential consumers, and this will be done in a manner to promote efficient use of electricity. The criteria for the reduction are as follows:

• Consumers burning less than 250KWh will pay zero fuel charge and additionally will benefit from further reductions in the principal part of their electricity bills. This intervention will benefit 65% of all residential consumers.

• Persons using between 250 and 350Kwh will pay only half (or 50%) of the fuel charge;

• Persons consuming between 350 and 450KWh will pay 60% of the fuel charge;

• Persons burning between 450 and 500KWh will pay 70% of the fuel charge;

• Consumers using between 500 and 800KWh will have to pay 80% of the fuel charge;

• Beyond 800KWh, residential consumers will have to pay 90% of the fuel charge.

Minister Martin explained that the high cost of fuel on the world market is driven by demand or consumption, and consumers all over the world, St. Kitts and Nevis included, have a responsibility to reduce their consumption of electricity in order to push the price of fuel downwards.

Deputy Prime Minister Martin proposed two initiatives. Firstly, a project for immediate implementation but which will have long-term impact will provide low interest, long-term loans for the purchase of solar energy systems for up to 600 residential consumers in the first instance. The term of the loan of approximately EC$15,000 will be 5% for 10 to 20 years which will mean a monthly payment of about EC$100 to EC$160 with no down-payment.

For consumers using electricity beyond a certain threshold, this is a very viable option to reduce electricity cost and to contribute to the development of the emerging renewable energy sector in our country as electricity generated in excess by these solar energy systems will be sold back into the grid and monies collected for it.

The fine details on the criteria for accessing this programme will be made available at the Ministry of the Deputy Prime Minister at the Needsmust Office.

Finally, Dr. Martin proposed that the Federal government continue to give very strong support to the geothermal energy project to harness the benefits of a much cheaper source of energy over the long term. The analysis shows that taking all things into consideration, outputs of electricity from the geothermal energy project can decrease the price of electricity to as low as 15 cents per Kwh.

In addition, Dr. Martin requested of the cabinet provisional approval for the completion of the final phases of a wind energy development project to be developed in Belle Vue mountain as another renewable energy initiative to help reduce the cost of electricity over the long term.

Further information pertaining to this matter will follow as to when this reduction will take effect.


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