Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 3rd 2018 Contents A6 news
Saturday, February 3, 2018
RIC pushes closer to
WASA, T&TEC rate hikes
The Regulated Industries Commis-
sion will be consulting with mem-
bers of the public in late April or
early May on a proposed rate in-
crease for the T&T Electricity Com-
mission (T&TEC) and by the end of
July or early August will hold public
consultations on recommended in-
creases for the Water and Sewerage
And although there is no guaran-
tee that the recommended increases
will be implemented those with the
authority to implement the recom-
mended increases are being urged
to consider the current economic
challenges before asking citizens to
pay more for the utilities.
The issue of rate increases for
the two public utilities came into
focus yesterday when of icials of the
Regulated Industries Commission
(RIC) appeared before the Local Au-
thorities, Service Commissions and
Statutory Authorities of Parliament
yesterday to discuss the RIC's ef i-
ciency and effectiveness.
Part of the mandate of the RIC
is to recommend rate increases for
WASA and T&TEC, but it also has
the authority to monitor the provid-
ers of water and electricity to ensure
there are ef iciency and reliability of
supply to consumers and that those
charged with the provision of those
services operate within set quality
RIC chairperson Hyacinth Guy
said the process for rate increases
started in September last year and
the Commission is on target for the
time-frame set for determination
which is June for T&TEC and Au-
gust/September for WASA.
While members of the parlia-
mentary committee, chaired by
Independent Senator Ian Roach, ex-
pressed concern that implementing
any such rate increase in the current
economic circumstances will affect
the most vulnerable citizens, execu-
tive director of the RIC Dr James Lee
Young said the last rate increase for
WASA was in 1993, that is 25 years
In that time, he said, inflation had
grown and so too had the utility's
customer base which now stands at
over 400,000 consumers.
Lee Young said it was "unaccept-
able" that there had been no rate in-
crease for more than two decades,
saying "we should be doing rate
reviews every ive years to keep cur-
rent, but that has not happened."
The end result, he said, is that
WASA has suffered revenue short-
On the other hand, he said, the
last T&TEC rate review was in 2006
which he said: "put them in a rela-
tively good place to inance activities
and pay its way."
Asked by Roach why there was
no rate increase for WASA for such
a long time, Lee Young said that
in 2012 the RIC "attempted to put
forward a rate review" and did the
technical work in-house for T&TEC
and WASA, but he said "the pro-
posal was put to the board at the
time and not carried forward."
He could not say why since he
only joined the RIC in August last
Asked how soon after the rates are
determined they will be actualised,
Lee Young said actual implementa-
tion is up to Corporation Sole and
the Government. In 2006, he said,
the RIC recommended increases
for T&TEC in June or July but the in-
creases for consumers were imple-
mented two years later.
43 years of suffering for pipe-borne supply
Admitting that "water is critical to
life and it should not be that our
citizens do not get that supply of
water," the acting Permanent Sec-
retary in the Ministry of Public util-
ities Gary Joseph has promised to
investigate a complaint that for the
past 40 years residents of Moruga
have signi icant water problems in
the period January to August.
The issue came to Joseph's atten-
tion when the Local Authorities,
Service Commissions and Statutory
Authorities LASCSA met with mem-
bers of the Regulated Industries
Member of Parliament for
Moruga Lovell Francis told the
Committee, the RIC and the Min-
istry of Public Utilities of icials that
for the past 43 years, "every year
from January to August my commu-
nity suffers immensely for water. It
has not changed."
Francis said Moruga received
water from an old Petrotrin site
that was taken over by WASA.
He said he visited the station
"and there is one pump. There is
a mass of water to supply the com-
munity ive days a week, but there
is one pump." When the pump
breaks down, he said, "it means the
community does not receive water
for a week. An entire community
relies on this thread bare infra-
structure to receive water," he said.
Francis said he had been trying
to "get help from the Ministry but I
am awaiting any meaningful inter-
Joseph promised to "engage
WASA to ind out what can be done
to improve that supply to Moruga."
Senator Nigel De Freitas raised
questions about whether the real
problem "seems to be an over-con-
idence in WASA infrastructure."
He questioned whether there had
been an assessment of the infra-
structure that "WASA has to use
to distribute water in Trinidad and
De Freitas felt it was "ironic
we deal with floods annually and
people still clamouring for water.
Something is wrong with the in-
frastructure of getting water from
point A to point B," he said.
But Joseph said he could not im-
mediately provide information on
any inventory of an assessment of
the age and quality of WASA's infra-
The Public Service Association
(PSA)'s leadership election has
been postponed for the second
time in less than three months.
The postponement of the elec-
tion, which was carded for Feb-
ruary 19, came yesterday as High
Court Judge Nadia Kangaloo ruled
that there were irregularities in
the voter's list compiled by the as-
sociation's elections committee in
October, last year.
Kangaloo ruled that the com-
mittee would be unable to rectify
the errors on the list and publish it
before the proposed election date.
"The publication of a list prior
to an election on February 19, with
the myriad of issues would be im-
possible," Kangaloo said.
As part of her decision, Kan-
galoo ordered the committee to
correct the list before March 2,
and report back to her four days
later. A new date for the election
can be set once the new list is ap-
In their lawsuit, one of the slates
challenging the elections, Team
Fixers, contended that the list of
voters was fundamentally flawed
owing to a decision taken by the
union's general council on Octo-
ber 5, to allow PSA members with
union dues arrears to be allowed
to vote if they cleared their arrears
before the election.
Almost 300 members report-
edly made use of the allowance.
The PSA has approximately
The elections were initially
scheduled for November 27 but
were postponed after the slate was
granted an injunction pending the
determination of the lawsuit.
She also ordered that the un-
ion's election committee pay the
applicant's legal costs amounting
In an interview after the judg-
ment, head of Team Fixers, Sol-
omon Gabriel said the outcome
vindicated his team's decision to
mount a legal challenge.
"It is a victory not only for the
PSA Fixers but for all PSA mem-
bers. Our union is in shambles. I
always keep saying we don't have
a union," Gabriel said as he called
on incumbent president Watson
Duke to immediately resign.
The slate was represented by
Raisa Caesar and Reshma Ramsi-
ngh, while John Heath and Lionel
Luckhoo represented the PSA.
Responding to the ruling, Duke
said he was also pleased.
"The ruling was fair and bal-
anced. The judge did what she had
to do and I am satis ied with it.,"
Questioned over Kangaloo's
criticism over meetings of the con-
ference of delegates and the fail-
ure to provide audited inancial
records, Duke said her comments
were "minor points" in the case.
Duke, who is seeking a third
four-year term in the elections,
also rejected calls for his resigna-
Judge halts PSA
Aaron 'Voice' St Louis, left and Duvonne Stewart, arranger for BpTT Renegades Steel Orchestra, entertain guests when BpTT hosted its annual panyard
lime at BpTT Renegades' home on Thursday. BpTT Renegades topped the Panorama prelims and semifinals playing the song 'Year for Love' by two-time
Soca Monarch winner, Voice.
PICTURE ANDRE ALEXANDER
Links Archive February 2nd 2018 February 4th 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page