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Employers hail party’s energy ideas

Employers have welcomed Labour’s “well-researched and ambitious” energy plans but called for further studies into the ideas.

Plans are ambitious, courageous and will require all hands on deck to become reality

The Malta Employers’ Association said the party’s proposals “includes novel recommendations that should be explored in further detail”.

The road map is “ambitious and courageous and will require all hands on deck to ensure that it becomes a reality”.

The MEA said it would like to discuss reducing commercial tariffs in a staggered fashion alongside residential tariffs. Under Labour’s plan, residential rates will be cut in 2014 and commercial rates in 2015.

“The MEA would like to have the opportunity to discuss with the PL because, 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,” the association said.

It said energy prices were a fundamental element in determining the country’s competitiveness and social well-being and so “all avenues should be explored to ensure that consumers and industry benefit from the lowest, stable and sustainable energy rates possible”.

Shifting to gas-fuelled energy plants is “commendable” from a cost and environmental point of view but the option to switch to fuel oil should be retained.

The MEA was pleased that Labour planned to have a parliamentary position responsible for energy, as the association had previously proposed this.

It pointed out that the party had taken on board other recommendations in its memorandum for the election. These included lower electricity tariffs, more involvement by the private sector, environmental consideration and health considerations.

Furthermore, the MEA said it “fully supported” efforts to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy to get the plan running.

The association cautioned that the employment guarantee given to Enemalta’s staff should come in return of an assurance from employees and their representatives that there would be no issues with being flexible or with requests from the Government for workers to be seconded to private operators in the energy sector.

It also 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.”

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