Time has come to increase energy fees: Minister

Minister Ahmad Al-Jas

Minister Ahmad Al-Jas

KUWAIT: Energy fees should be increased in accordance with the government’s study to maintain Kuwait’s credit ranking in the global market, Minister of Electricity and Water Ahmad Al-Jassar said. Calling the current 2 fills per kilowatt tariff as ‘outdated,’ Jassar told Al-Anbaa daily that now is the time to ‘restructure’ electricity and water increases to become on par with local and international markets’ indicators. Jassar further indicated that studies show that under the current rates, Kuwait will bear KD 1.7 billion in subsidies in the coming budget for power and water production, without paying attention to the fluctuation of oil prices.

The minister further explained that the goal behind restructuring power and water prices is not to collect money, but to commit the consumer to rationalizing, because “he who does so will find out that his bill remains the same.” The National Assembly’s Financial Affairs Committee is scheduled to discuss a draft law for new power charges on Sunday and its head MP Faisal Al-Shaye said the panel has different plans to reduce the government proposals.

National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem meanwhile announced that the National Assembly plans to study the new charges and government’s economic reforms in the next session on April 12. The government proposed to raise electricity charges by several-folds, especially for apartments inhabited mostly by expatriates.

It was not immediately known if MPs will reduce the government proposals for citizens and expatriates as well. Several lawmakers have already criticized the government proposals saying it will constitute a major burden on consumers.

Under the proposed plan, electricity fees would increase as follows: for private houses (normally inhabited by Kuwaitis), the bill proposes to raise current electricity charges of 2 fils per kilowatt to as follows: For consumption of up to 3,000 kilowatts – 5 fils per kilowatt; For consumption of between 3,000 – 6,000 – 8 fils per kilowatt; For consumption between 6,000-9,000 – 10 fils per kilowatt; For consumption above 9,000 – 15 fils per kilowatt. As for apartments (mostly inhabited by expatriate), the new proposed rates are as follow; For consumption of up to 1,000 kilowatt – 5 fils per kilowatt; For consumption between 1,000-2,000 – 10 fils per kilowatt; For consumption above 2,000 kilowatt – 15 fils per kilowatt. The bill also proposes smaller increases to water charges.

This article was published on 02/04/2016