‘Changing power station will take years’
A Labour government would not be in a position to reduce energy bills in one legislature if it planned to convert the Delimara power station to gas, the Finance Ministry said.
The ministry said that during his mass meeting speech last week, Labour leader Joseph Muscat confirmed that he would not be lowering electricity tariffs in the coming five years, given that he underpinned this pledge with a plan to run the power station on gas.
Dr Muscat’s solution when facing the international prices of oil was the conversion of the power station to gas and the infrastructure to achieve this was not in place, the ministry said.
“There is no gas pipeline connecting Malta to Europe and such a pipeline would cost millions, requiring Malta to turn to the EU for funds.”
Since the next EU budget did not go beyond 2014, the process to achieve the funds and pay for the gas pipe would take more than five years, the ministry said.
It said the Government had always been consistent with the argument that the new power station could be converted to gas only when a pipeline was in place.
European member states had already decided that no state should be isolated and funds should be made available in its next budget, the ministry noted.
Hitting back at the ministry, the Labour Party said the Government was panicking on energy tariffs and Labour’s pledge to reduce them.
“GonziPN has lost credibility in energy because, by its own admission, it bought a power station that runs on heavy fuel oil rather than gas. A new PL government would lower the bills as pledged,” the party said.