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Labour promises 25% power tariffs cut, gas power station - Muscat to assume personal responsibility

Water bills to be reduced by 5%

The Labour Party today unveiled plans which would see consumers saving 25% on their electricity bills from March next year. The plan includes the building of a gas-fired power station by the private sector, with the electricity being sold to Enemalta for onward distribution. Private investors still have to be identified. A call will be made after the elections if a Labour government is in place.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat told a press conference that he would, as prime minister, assume personal responsibility for the implementation of the plan, along with an energy minister He said low consumers could save as much as 35% under the plan. Labour, he said, would reduce generation costs, clean up the environment and reduce tariffs for families and businesses.

This, Dr Muscat said, was the best boost which could be given to the economy to grow and boost jobs.

He expressed confidence that the private sector would come forward to invest in the new power house and the conversion of Delimara II to gas - a total investment of some €370m.

Asked what will happen if the private sector did not invest in this plan, Dr Muscat said he was "confident" that there was "strong interest" by the private sector.

"It is a safe investment for the private sector," he said, denying there was a done deal with any company.

"This is not a proposal belonging to any one company. Any company can come forward to submit its proposal," he said. A Labour Government will issue an expression of interest by April, he added.

Dr Muscat said that a Labour government would honour all debt commitments Enemalta has made. The annual subsidy of around €25 million currently being paid to Enemalta would be retained.

The Labour plan also sees a 5% cut in water bills from next year through improved efficiency and reduced costs at the WSC.

Delimara as it would look under the Labour plan.Delimara as it would look under the Labour plan.

Deputy leader Louis Grech said the Labour Party's policy went beyond a reduction of utility bills and it was a comprehensive energy policy.

The press conference, which is still in progress, is titled 'Affordable, reliable, clean energy for all.'

The proposal is based on a shift to gas from heavy fuel oil at the power stations and a public private partnership for the building of new generation facilities.

Savings would start from next year.

Consumers would still buy electricity from Enemalta and cost savings would  amount to around 25 per cent in 2014. Industry would benefit from similar savings in 2015.

Mr Grech said all workers at Enemalta would be retained. The plan, he said, meant no additional tax burdens for the people. It also meant a cleaner environment.

Labour candidate Konrad Mizzi said nothing in the proposal threatened Enemalta's survival.

The plan sees the replacement of the old Delimara plant with a new gas-powered power station funded by the private sector.

The Labour Party's alternative energy policy will emphasise solar power, a shift from wind.

NEW GAS POWER STATION

Consultant Thomas Leonard discusses the power options for Malta.Consultant Thomas Leonard discusses the power options for Malta.

Consultant Thomas Leonard said a new 200MW gas-fired plant would replace the old Delimara power station (the phase 1) and the new BWSC unit would be converted to work on gas.

His company explored three options to deliver gas: pipeline from Sicily, LNG terminal and regassification terminal and an offshore compressed natural gas receiving point.

The preferred option for gas delivery was through an LNG and regassification terminal - the delivery of gas by ships and storage in tanks at Delimara.

The new generation plant would cost €166 million and the BWSC conversion estimated at €68 million. The gas supply infrastructure was estimated to cost €142 million.

The cost of generation will drop to 9c6 per unit with savings of €187 million for Enemalta.

The old Delimara power station would close down in 2015, and its high chimney would be removed. 

Enemalta would enter into a power purchase agreement with the investors of the new power station, fixing the price of energy for 10 years.

The new power plant would be ready in 2015.

 

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