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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Another state mess for the taxpayer to pay for ]

Another state mess for the taxpayer to pay for

EVERY week sees a new twist to the government’s shambolic mess of an energy policy which has only one purpose: satisfying the demands of the unions of the Electricity Authority of Cyprs (EAC) irrespective of the cost to the consumer.

In the latest turn of events, the Energy Regulatory Authority (RAEK) has set procedures in motion to rescind the 2007 licence given to a private company to produce power on an offshore plant.

The company has countered, quite rightly, that it has been messed about by the authorities which are constantly changing decisions relating to the securing of supplies of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). In effect, the company was being penalised because of the state’s constantly changing plans – the most absurd of which was the passing of the law giving monopolistic rights over the purchase and supply LNG to a company jointly owned by the state and EAC.

The law, demanded by the EAC unions and approved by the populist political parties, has been challenged in the Supreme Court and is almost certain to be ruled unconstitutional. It would take time for the court to take such a decision, but once it does the government will be forced to re-think its ludicrously misguided energy policy, further delaying the use of cheaper fuel at the power stations.

What nobody seems to consider is that time is of the essence and that we do not have the luxury to prevaricate. Delays would mean a longer period of exorbitantly high electricity bills for households. From next year EAC will paying an annual fine €20 million for the CO2 emissions of its mazut/diesel-fuelled power stations. This will rise to €100 million from 2013. The fine would be passed on to the consumer and could be as high as a 50 per cent surcharge.

The government should have been pulling out all the stops to bring LNG at the earliest possible date, as it is a cheaper and cleaner fuel than oil. But this will not happen until 2015, when the LNG land terminal is supposed to be ready.

According to the monopoly law mentioned above, LNG can only be imported to Cyprus through the state-owned land terminal which is not even at the planning stage! Yet if the private sector was not forbidden from entering the market, we could have LNG or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) here by 2010 and be benefitting from lower electricity bills five years earlier.

Next year, electricity bills will go up regardless, according to DISY deputy leader Averof Neophytou – the only politician speaking out about this unacceptable state of affairs – because EAC would have to follow the EU directive and make its rates reflect its operating costs, which have doubled over the last five years. As it would not ask its workers accept pay cuts, the consumer would inevitably be lumbered with higher bills.

Cyprus households will be paying the highest electricity bills in the world for the sake of a few thousand over-paid EAC workers, and all the authorities can say is that they might reduce VAT on bills to make them more affordable – not to find speedier ways to import LNG. Such contempt for the interests of ordinary people is scandalous.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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