Finance Ministry reiterates denial of plans to increase utility bills

Government accuses Opposition of ‘panicking’, insists reducing utility bills is ‘impossible’.

Opposition says PN government would increase utility bills, government insists otherwise.
Opposition says PN government would increase utility bills, government insists otherwise.

The Ministry for Finance reiterated its denial that, if re-elected to government, it would be increasing the utility bills.

According to Labour leader Joseph Muscat, the Nationalist government was planning to increase the utility bills, as "this is evident from the European Commission's report".

Intervening on One Radio and citing the report, Muscat said: "Energy inflation is forecast to strengthen under the assumption of an increase in electricity prices."

But according to the government this was not true and dismissed Muscat's comment as a "mere hearsay".

"Our position is clear: the challenges of oil prices are there and we are not going to hide it. But this is exactly the reason as to why we increased our aid to Enemalta by €25 million. This way, the increases in the price of oil were not reflected in higher bills for businesses, the industry or the families," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that for Budget 2013, government was taking the initiatives to see that this would be guaranteed throughout next year as well.

The finance ministry went on to accuse the opposition of being in a state of panic because the same report made it clear that reducing utility bills was impossible in view of the international energy rates.

"Muscat's promise will only result in new taxation," the ministry added.

The ministry went on to list the initiatives undertaken to help families mitigate the increasing energy rates, including incentivising families to invest in alternative energy and the financial help given to 30,000 families.

The ministry added that the Delimara power station extension would increase the efficiency in power supply, thus decreasing the dependency on oil.