'From passports salesperson to Enemalta CEO' - Greens demand accountability for electricity crisis

ADPD questions how Jonathan Cardona became Enemalta CEO and how no person in power assumes responsibility for their actions

ADPD - The Green Party said that despite the crisis in electricity distribution this summer, nobody carried the can (Photo: ADPD)
ADPD - The Green Party said that despite the crisis in electricity distribution this summer, nobody carried the can (Photo: ADPD)

ADPD - The Green Party questioned how Jonathan Cardona was ‘catapulted’ from as passport salesperson to Enemalta CEO.

During a press conference on Saturday morning, ADPD Chairperson Sandra Gauci said that despite the crisis in electricity distribution this summer, nobody carried the can.

“In a country where everyone clings to the seat of power no one seems to be responsible for their actions. Typical of the culture of friends of friends that Labour has adopted, no one seems to have bothered to ask for Enemalta CEO Jonathan Cardona’s qualifications,” Gauci said.

She said that Cardona was catapulted from a passport ‘salesperson’ at Castille to CEO of Enemalta.

“The appointment of people from Labour’s inner circle to delicate places of responsibility smacks of nepotism paid for through people’s taxes. All this while their quality of life regresses.”

Gauci said that Energy Minister Miriam Dalli did not feel that she had to take responsibility for her incompetence and ended up blaming the heat for “melting underground cables”.

She said that Dalli cannot blame the heat for this week’s blackouts and argued that the reality is that Malta has a “crumbling system” that does not keep up with the growing demand for energy because of overdevelopment, and population growth, including mass tourism over the years.

“No planning and foresight whatsoever for the predictable.”

Gauci said that ADPD has presented a set of proposals, including smart grids that monitor energy flows and demand, and adjusts to changes in energy supply and demand.

“There is a need for a moratorium on large developments. Overdevelopment has meant less natural sinks for rainwater and flooded roads,” Gauci insisted.

She added that a huge number of buildings also illegally dispose of rainwater in sewers, leading to sewage shooting out of manholes practically everytime it rains.

“We want an economy based on wellbeing. Currently Malta's economy is based on the exploitation of people, overdevelopment, the excessive use of our natural resources and the almost total dependence on imported energy. There is a need for an economic model based on people's quality of life and the common good, in which social and ecological limits are respected,” Gauci concluded.

ADPD Secretary General Ralph Cassar explained that the energy sector needs urgent attention not only because of the climate emergency but also for health and economic reasons. “Government’s bragging about subsidies showered on everyone irrespective of consumption is leading to unnecessary waste and does not encourage a switch to more efficient energy sources,” Cassar said.

He argued that if successive governments had planned better, Malta would today be enjoying the benefits of renewable energy sources and it would not depend so much on imported energy.

Cassar said that a system of renewable energy cooperatives should have been set up and that all public buildings should be generating the energy they need by now.

“Indeed all industrial roof space and at the very least all new buildings should be generating electricity. Are there any plans for all roof space available to be utilised for energy generation?”

In reaction to the announcement of a public consultation exercise about offshore wind turbines news, he said that in principle the party agrees that all sources of renewable energy should be explored and pursued.

“Government should in fact have started with the low lying fruit and started from its own roof space, from industrial roof space and eventually by mandating the use of all roof space in the country to generate solar energy,” Cassar said.

He said that according to the National Office of Statistics in 2022, the commercial sector generated 52.0% of total kWp from photovoltaic panels, followed by 45.6% and 2.3% by households and by the public sector respectively.

Cassar stated that industrial zones can also host land-based wind turbines, and that public opinion favours renewable sources of energy, including offshore wind turbines.

“However for an informed, serious and technical discussion and an effective consultation exercise government should publish all the information and studies on which it is basing its decisions,” Cassar said.

He said that an effective consultation exercise leads to better decisions and that the document issued by the government asks generic questions.

“We demand a detailed explanation of the government’s vision and an explanation of the reasons behind government’s policy. All studies should be published in their entirety.”

ADPD reiterated its call for the generation of at least 50% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Cassar called “risible” the government's target of 11.5% by 2030, and the €74 million promised for renewable energy over 20 years, while hundreds of millions are being given in subsidies to everyone regardless of consumption.

“Can Miriam Dalli confirm this figure? What are the government’s plans for the proportion of energy from different renewable sources?  Did they remain the same? Today’s situation further proves that this government has continued where the previous administration had left off, with fragmented, piecemeal policies for the energy sector,” Cassar concluded.