St Helena : St Helena increases Electricity Tarriffs
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Juanita Brock) 27.07.2008 (Article Archived on 10.08.2008)
St Helena Executive Council has agreed new electricity tariffs which take effect from 1 September 2008.
Increase in Electricity Tariffs
Executive Council has agreed new electricity tariffs which take effect from 1 September 2008.
The Standing Charge has been reduced to £20 per quarter for consumers with single phase-electricity. This affects the majority of households. For consumers with a three-phase supply –mainly businesses and some SHG Departments - the standing charge is £30 per quarter.
The cost per unit of electricity will be 0 – 400 units at 15p; the remaining 401 – 1,000 units at 25p; and any units over 1,000 at 30p. These prices will be reviewed at the end of March 2009. It is hoped that by then the price of oil will have dropped but nothing can be said for certain.
Executive Council was reluctant to increase the cost per unit, but faced no alternative due to the increase in world fuel prices. The Energy Division is providing electricity at a loss and even with the new prices, it will only move towards recovering 70 percent of the full cost.
Councillors and officials were particularly concerned over how electricity prices would affect people in the lowest income bracket and those on income related benefits. Executive Council insisted that the increases to income related benefits planned to help cushion the effect of all the rising costs should be in place when the new electricity charges are introduced, and that assistance should also be given to families with only one earner receiving a very low income.
The Employment and Social Security Department and Social Development Planner have ensured that schemes are in place to help these people. Ronald Coleman, Employment Benefits and Administration Officer, explained that income related benefits would have been raised in any case, but these have now been increased much more to take into account the price increases in general.
The income related benefit for a single person has increased to £40.00 per week, and he/she can earn up to £20 a week on top of this, giving a weekly income of £60. Similarly, the income related benefit for a couple has increased to £60 per week and they can earn up to £30, giving them an income of £90 per week. If they make over the £20 or £30 respectively, then their benefit level will be adjusted accordingly.
Provision will also be made for single income families who make £90 or less as they will be assisted with the electricity standing charge of £20 per quarter in this financial year. This assistance will continue to be reviewed.
Public Relations/Information Office
Office of the Chief Secretary
24 July 2008