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Fri 12th Jul 2019

Call for SVG Parliament to put Vinlec June 2019 electricity bill tax increase on hold

According to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, the grossly incompetent and useless ULP regime should not use VINLEC’s monthly electricity bills as cash cows. The ULP regime should set up industries that create revenue, rather than use Vinlec as a source of income.

Since taking office in 2001, the financially-incompetent ULP regime has been digging a hole to fill a hole - borrowing very large sums of money to pay public debt. Consequently, SVG’s fragile economy has been driven in to the gutter by the ULP regime and this has had a negative impact on the ability of black poor households to survive.

The ULP regime should create new industries that would bring income to the SVG Treasury. Instead though, they choose to punish the people more through increased taxation. Charging 16% VAT on electricity consumption over 150 KWh - rather than over 200 KWh as it previously was - on VINLEC monthly electricity bills is really hurting poorer households. Many people are already complaining about having higher electricity bills.

This new tax increase on Vinlec bills shows that the ULP Regime is economically incompetent and do not have the intelligence to create a strong economy. They are scraping the bottom of an already empty barrel.

Retired British Royal Air Force Engineer Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA is making a very strong call on the grossly incompetent and useless ULP Regime to abolish the 16% VAT on consumption over 150 KWh on VINLEC monthly electricity bills immediately.

In 1967, Israel and Arab nations had a six day war. The war caused the price of oil to fluctuate significantly on the international market, as an oil embargo was imposed. The British Commonwealth Corporation, who used to own the electricity Service in St. Vincent, applied to the SVG House of Assembly in 1973 for a FUEL SURCHARGE to compensate for the continuing substantial fluctuation in the price of oil to produce electricity in SVG.

The Fuel Surcharge is set out at Section 10 of The Electricity Supply Act CAP 404 and states:
The Company, in addition to the tariff rates prescribed in the First and Second Schedules, shall be entitled to charge a fuel surcharge per unit consumed which shall be calculated in accordance with the following formula:

Total number of gallon of fuel consumed by the Company in supplying the said units multiplied by the current price paid by the Company for fuel, less the sum of the said number of gallons multiplied by the price paid by the Company in October, 1973, divided by the total number of Units sold.

According to Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal, research has shown mathematically - holding all other variables constant - the new ULP 16% VAT on consumption over 150 KWh will increase the rate of Fuel Surcharge on all Vinlec electricity bills as from June 2019.

The higher the amount of electricity sold, the lower is the rate of Fuel Surcharge. Conversely, as this foolish new tax of lowering the VAT threshold from 200 KWh to 150 KWh makes electricity too expensive for households and more people get cut off, the remaining customers will have to pay a larger share of the fuel surcharge. The fuel surcharge will increase for the remaining customers and continue to increase as the number of customers decreases.

This is totally unacceptable. In addition, there is no public oversight or ombudsman at Vinlec to protect customers and customers are at the mercy of Vinlec.

The Leader of SVG Green Party Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal is making a very strong call on the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines House of Assembly to please put VINLEC’s June 2019 Electricity Bill tax increase on hold.

VINLEC must also be transparent and honest and print in its customers’ monthly bills a copy of the working out of the fuel surcharge equation, as stated in Section 10 of The Electricity Supply Act CAP 404:

Total number of gallons of fuel consumed by the Company in supplying the said units multiplied by the current price paid by the Company for fuel, less the sum of the said number of gallons multiplied by the price paid by the Company in October, 1973, divided by the total number of units sold.

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