Grech denies price raise with energy distribution liberalisation proposal, accuses ‘panicked’ PM of scaremongering

Opposition leader Bernard Grech criticises Prime Minister Robert Abela's response to the Nationalist Party's proposal for energy distribution liberalisation, accusing him of scaremongering people into thinking that PN wants prices raised

PN and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, speaking during an interview with Julian Borg on NET TV's Analiżi
PN and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, speaking during an interview with Julian Borg on NET TV's Analiżi

Robert Abela resorted to “typical Labour Party fear-mongering tactics,” when confronted with the Nationalist Party’s nine-point plan, Bernard Grech said on Sunday.

"As usual, we were told the PN wants to raise prices. This is what Labour always says when it panics; it scaremongers people into thinking prices will be raised," Grech said.

Speaking during an interview with Julian Borg on NET TV's Analiżi, Grech firmly stood by the party's plan, particularly supporting the proposal for energy distribution liberalisation.

The energy proposal, aiming to introduce multiple operators in the energy distribution sector, faced scepticism from Prime Minister Abela on Saturday.

The PN proposed the "liberalisation" of Malta's energy distribution network as a part of a nine-point plan to strengthen the country's energy infrastructure, on Friday.

“Power cuts experienced in the past two weeks are due to a lack of planning by the Labour administration,” Grech said, reiterating his Friday speech.

“After a decade in power, the government not only did not invest sufficiently in the energy infrastructure but artificially increased the population significantly, causing a rise in demand for electricity,” he added.

Grech drew parallels to "past successful liberalisation efforts," such as the PN's decision to open up the telecommunications market, which, according to him, led to reduced prices and job stability.

"You have the right to choose your own provider delivering energy to your home... Not privatisation, but more than one operator offering the service," he emphasised.

Acknowledging concerns about limited investment due to the country's size, Grech expressed confidence in the plan.

Highlighting the stark difference in viewpoints, Grech accused Prime Minister Abela of preserving a monopoly in the energy sector, whereas the PN's plan "seeks to empower consumers with choice."

Grech also mentioned that a similar proposal was made some time ago by the Chamber of Commerce, indicating that the call for energy liberalisation is not a novel concept but one supported by other stakeholders.

"But I understand why Robert Abela takes it against the chamber as well now because they are standing up to him," he added.

Grech also mentioned that after days of excuses, Abela told MCESD that he would be doubling the budget for next year's electricity distribution.

"So it seems that the problem was you... now he [Robert Abela] will be doing what he has not done in the last ten years," Grech said.