PL's energy proposals 'well researched and ambitious'
Labour’s energy proposals are well researched and ambitious, and include novel recommendations that should be explored in further detail, the Malta Employers’ Association said.
It said in a statement that energy prices were a fundamental element in the determination of the country’s competitiveness and social well-being and that all avenues should be explored to ensure that consumers and industry benefitted from the lowest, stable and sustainable energy rates possible.
The MEA said that the shift to gas fuelled energy plants was commendable from a cost and environmental perspective, although the option to switch to fuel oil should be retained.
The association expressed its satisfaction that the PL had taken on board the recommendation in its memorandum to political parties to create a parliamentary position responsible for energy.
The MEA said it was also satisfied that four important elements listed in its memorandum had been taken into consideration. These were lower electricity tariffs, greater involvement of the private sector, environmental consideration and health considerations.
The statement by PL leader Joseph Muscat that energy and Enemalta were not a political ball and that it was the intention of the party to ensure that they did not become so, was well received by the association.
“The fact that these energy proposals are part of a more encompassing energy policy is also well received as this is something which the association has been lobbying for years,” it said.
On the contents of the PL’s recommendations, the MEA said the road map presented was ambitious and courageous and would require all hands on deck to ensure that it became a reality.
The MEA fully supported any efforts to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy to get the plan running if it was approved. The association added that the job guarantee given to Enemalta employees needed to come with a guarantee to government from employees and their representatives that there would be no issues whatsoever when the required flexibility was requested and they would be able to adapt to new exigencies of power generation in Malta, including secondment to private operators in the energy sector.
The MEA also suggested that, if the plan was implemented, the PL should consider reviewing its intentions to reduce the consumer utility bills during the first year of implementation, to be followed by a revision in commercial tariffs.
“The MEA would like to have the opportunity to discuss with the PL, as in its opinion it would be more economically beneficial, if both tariffs are reduced at a staggered rate. This recommendation is being made in view of the fact that commercial tariffs are among the highest in the EU,” it said.
The association urged political parties to be open to each other’s ideas.
“A constructive and mature debate can only strengthen the country’s democratic process and, in the case of energy, all stakeholders need to devote their collective resources to produce the best outcome for the country,” it said.