The Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) has noted with great concern the publication on 13 February 2014 of a report by Government headlined ‘GRENLEC TOPPED THE CUSTOMS AND EXCISE LIST OF EXEMPTIONS IN 2013’.
That report places GRENLEC at the top of a list of “entities/groups” which receive the most exemptions at the Customs and Excise Division and, regrettably, is a classic case of comparing oranges with apples in that GRENLEC is categorised alongside hotel and other tourism facilities, manufacturers, a university, statutory bodies, religious bodies, returning nationals, and Government imports and contracts.
GRENLEC is the only entity within that grouping whose imports, including fuel, are not for resale, but for the production of the electricity on which the entire country depends and without which every sector, private and public, would grind to a halt.
The duty concessions granted to GRENLEC directly result in keeping the cost of electricity as low as possible and without them, the price of electricity will rise. Government’s action of reducing the concessions will impact every one of GRENLEC’S customers at a time when they can least afford it.
To GRENLEC’s knowledge, Grenada is now the only country in the English-speaking Caribbean and possibly beyond, in which fuel imported for the production of electricity is dutiable to the extent currently being implemented by Government, if at all.
Certainly, duty is not paid on fuel utilised for the generation of electricity in neighbouring countries Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Nevis and St. Lucia,
It must be reiterated that by being exempted from such duties under the original Act GRENLEC is able to keep its rates at the lowest possible level, and in line with other similarly sized Caribbean utilities.
GRENLEC must also reiterate that in the years 2008, 2010 and 2013 the company sacrificed revenue by deferring increases in order to ease the burden on our customers. Unfortunately, in the present circumstances, GRENLEC cannot absorb the increased expenses and still maintain the quality service that you, our valuable customers, have come to expect and respect.