Former legislator Myron Walwyn has offered his take on the debate surrounding the government-owned BVI Electricity Corporation’s (BVIEC) high electricity cost and its troublesome fuel surcharge.
According to Walwyn, the issue of the fuel variation surcharge element contained in the BVIEC’s bills is one that needs immediate attention by the government.
“As a matter of fact,” Walwyn said in a Facebook
post yesterday, “a proper plan to address and monitor this issue that we knew would have been a problem should have been in place a long time ago.”
The former legislator felt that it would have been a much better use of government revenue if the Customs duty breaks that were given on food, luxury items and other things months ago were instead directed to the fuel variation charge on the electrical bills. “It would have been a much greater help to businesses and to households if this was done,” Walwyn said.
He added: “I am not sure if anyone felt the reduction in food costs by those duty breaks. As a matter of fact, the food prices seemed to have gone higher during the period and the government by their own admission had no mechanism in place to monitor the concessions given.”
Meanwhile, Walwyn also argued that it might be wise for the government to look at what other countries have done to alleviate some of the burdens on businesses and households.
He pointed out that the Nevisian government recently agreed to give a monthly subvention to their electricity corporation so that their fuel variation charge could be capped at an agreed amount for businesses and households and suggested that this is a common sense approach that the BVI could adopt.
Walwyn also reminded people that many businesses are still dealing with the side effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria as well as the COVID
“If this fuel variation issue is left unabated it will drastically affect the local economy,” Walwyn posited.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley recently announced plans to provide relief for residential customers of the BVIEC but did not offer any details of how this relief will be implemented nor did it state whether commercial customers would be in line for a reprieve at a later time.
“A lot of the problems in this country could be addressed if our leaders could just humble themselves and seek advice from people who have knowledge on the subject matters or at least have the good common sense to see how other countries handled the very same issues,” Walwyn stated in his post.