Gibbs-Taitt slams planned natural gas price hike

Cooking with natural gas is about to become more expensive for Barbadians, who are being told to expect a price increase.   

Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss Wednesday announced that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy were in the final stages of discussions on an increase in natural gas rates, something Inniss said he wholeheartedly supported.

However, he could not say how soon customers were expected to begin paying more, or how much more they would be asked to fork out.

Barbados TODAY was unable to ascertain the cost to Government of producing this form of energy, which is provided through the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC). However, according to the company’s website, it costs just over $300 to get the fuel to homes – a $117 fee for installation from the main to the metre, a $50 application fee, and an internal/in-house installation fee starting at $137.93.

Natural gas is currently available in parts of eight parishes to just over 16,000 householders, as well as several commercial entities, with some residents paying as little as $12 a month.

The monthly rate schedule consists of a consumption charge of $1.48 per cubic metre, a fixed charge of $3.00 per month for each domestic meter, and 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax on the bill. A ten per cent discount is given if the bill is settled within 15 days of the billing date.

Inniss said there was a need to bring those rates “in line more with reality”, adding that some of his St James South constituents had been wanting natural gas for years, but the cost to the NPC to accommodate them was “beyond their current scope”.

“That is the reality that they face. When you look at it, there has not been any increase in natural gas prices in Barbados now for 20 years on the residential side and about ten years on the commercial side. Yet still, we expect the NPC and those bodies to do more. It is not practical. I would safely say, based on all that I have seen and is aware of, that the matter is very much under active consideration and I expect that there will be an increase in natural gas prices, and I fully support it. It is long overdue and it is one way in which we will be able to provide natural gas to more consumers,” the minister told the official opening of the Rubis service station at Fontabelle, St Michael.

A natural gas shortage around Christmas of 2014 had affected businesses on the west coast – and later on the south coast – particularly hotels and restaurants, prompting calls by the NPC for industrial users to switch to alternative fuels for the short term, while government had announced a S$7 million initiative aimed at bringing relief to the businesses.

Inniss today said there continued to be a supply constraint, therefore “necessary adjustment in prices” was “only fair and reasonably fitting”.

“It is a cheap form of energy. But the harsh reality is that we have challenges with quantity and supply, plus the cost at which it is being delivered now to commercial enterprises and residents is not at the level that affords the National Petroleum Corporation to be a viable entity and to be able to expand.”

In a swift response, Director General of the Barbados Consumer Research Association Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt told Barbados TODAY he was opposed to an increase unless Government was willing to also to give public servants a pay rise.

Gibbs-Taitt said a price hike made no sense if wages remained stagnant.

“The Government from time to time will tell you it cannot afford increases in wages for public workers, but if the same Government will agree for the increase in prices of gas for example, I would suggest that the atmosphere is right for salary increases,” the consumer rights advocate said.

“The people who receive salaries and wages are the people who buy these things . . . I am opposed to any price increases of anything, especially if it is led by Government. I definitely oppose to it unless they are going to give some across-the-board wage and salary increase to people,” he added.

28 Responses to Madness!

  1. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn April 6, 2017 at 5:08 am

    They cannot carry up the price of natural gas if everyone REFUSE to pay. The consumers have the power. Not the gas company. Every one just have to come together and decid that we ain’t paying no bills. You will see what will happened. They need the money we need the Gass. People have to start to show solidarity with one another. Don’t just let these people take bajan for fools all the time. A lot of you need to listen to speeches from people like Mandela, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. They have to give good reason why they want more money. Unless they giving you more gas .

  2. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn April 6, 2017 at 5:17 am

    When people rebelled against the state.They call them Terrorist. That is the new word.

    • Jennifer April 6, 2017 at 5:46 am

      @Angus – come on BRO you know better than that. I know you mean well. You do not think that every knows that this is a placid good too shoes people. Who only talk but then pay. Them is not interested in self empowerment only short term gains. And the few with the wool off their eyes EITHER DON’T CARE AND JUST MAKING WHAT LITTLE MONEY THEY CAN while the others are like the PUPPIES IN THE YARD STEMMING TO NO AVAIL at the same big dog. This people will tell you that all of them speeches dead like the men. BUT WHO KILLED THEM AND WHY????? However>>>>>> good shot

      • Jennifer April 6, 2017 at 5:48 am

        Mind you this people will only address things when it is affecting them personally. Not seeing the WIDER IMPACT ON THEIR PEOPLE AS A WHOLE.

  3. harry turnover April 6, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Was waiting on GAS but was made to understand that MTW was the keep back they en allowing NPC to DIG UP a newly reconstructed road ( over 10 years old ) so that a poor man like me could get GAS……yet a walk down the road on the same NEW 10 year+ old road one could see a BIG DUG OUT mark from one side of the road to the next…to gi something to somebody.
    On another DUG OUT note…. somebody has ALREADY DUG A HOLE about HALF WAY to the other side in.the NEWLY REPAVED HALLS ROAD ( less than 2 months old ) but MTW gine want to say that they didn’t give permission but just like the chicken wing controversy the DON would jump on Board to tell MTW that the only entity that has the authority to give permission is MTW

  4. Sophia Branch
    Sophia Branch April 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Wanna really making people smell hell yesterday wanna want 10 per person to pay for stadium now today more for gas

  5. Frank White April 6, 2017 at 7:55 am

    @ Angus Benn, I agree with you…
    Every which way they can squeeze more money out your pocket, they are doing and then want to walk around and talk about FACTS, gimme a break…

  6. Mack April 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I don’t understand the thinking of this government. They are saying that they can’t afford a wage or pension increase, however every day they are increasing the cost of everything poor people need to survive. Could any one explain this to me???

  7. Alex Alleyne April 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Hello guys , the BWA had the people of BIM hanging over a barell for months if not years and the call by some of us was “don’t pay BWA if no water coming through your tap”. Everyone continue to pay their bills and on top of that continue to run into other districts with bucket in hand . Now tell me , you think the we Bajans going to refuse to pay for NATURAL GAS. My call will be for NPC to run gas lines to every house on the Island and get the rid of the bottle gas with those dangerous heads.
    The call by the fellas is to suck every blind cent outta we every which way possible. So grin and bear it until the time come for “the ballot or the bullet”.

    • jennifer April 6, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      @Alex – that’s my point to Angus. They know this people too well. Watch the next set they put in only looking out for……….

  8. Zabeeda Alli Abdool
    Zabeeda Alli Abdool April 6, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I’m not surprised…

  9. Sisleen Green April 6, 2017 at 9:12 am

    This idiot like the rest of his D.L.P cohorts have no ability to think or be creative when it comes to income generation, so the only think they do is continue to rape the citizens, through taxation and prices increase.
    However Donville and Company, remember that time longer than twine and all the “FACTS” wunna out there running with will eventually destroy wunna.

  10. hcalndre April 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

    These DLP ministers want to see which of them could sqeeze the most money out of the people wages without giving the people a wage increase. The Don knows that it`s 10 years that there was no hike in the gas price, but he could not remember that the Civil servants have not had an increase in their salaries for 9 years but still have to buy and pay bills just like them who demanded the 10% returned to their bank account, what a bunch that`s who is only looking to make sure that they live as millionaires after.

  11. Maureen Annius
    Maureen Annius April 6, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Lord have mercy on us wanna destroying barbados making life more difficult for people smh

  12. Sunil Brome
    Sunil Brome April 6, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I am not surprised by this, quite honestly the cost of natural gas is very low comparatively as it should be, I don’t think they want to triple it. Yes it is all coming at the same time but in reality this is something due to happen.

  13. Princess M R Charles
    Princess M R Charles April 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Prices on everything going up salaries and wages stay the same and they want us to believe they care about the people of Barbados smh

  14. Saro Virasami
    Saro Virasami April 6, 2017 at 10:09 am

    It’s a pity they waited this long to adjust the price…

  15. Ossie Moore April 6, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Folks I must ask! Can I live aboard an R/V on the island or would it be as Carso Gannumn having to depart his truck R/V from a beach location!

  16. jrsmith April 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    All we need in barbados is the new technology smart meters or card meters….you see and control what you used….
    All this gas and power is the biggest rip off all around the world…
    These corporates are all cartels , with politicians supporting they every move………. in the (UK) its the biggest rip off because there are about 40 (MPs) in parliament directly involve with the companies…………..

    • jennifer April 6, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Jrsmith – well said. That would take money they do not want to invest to install metres. But them will increase the rate anyway so that u pay about the same they charging. Good idea. I operated smart metres for gas and worked great. Makes you more efficient.

  17. hcalndre April 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Listening to Brass Tax at the moment, I hear the host is in favor of Donville Innis on the issue of raising the price of natural gas and the host would like to see the price of water to increase also. What the host seems to believe that the majority of bajans are paid living wages. Donville Innis have not mention that the gas attendants work for minimum wages and are not entitled to any supplementary benefits when their salary is below poverty level. This host should speak for himself, his name should be Sanka High-Price. You should only pay utility bills on what you use. These politicians want to tax everything that you are obligated to use.

  18. Mikey April 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    @jrsmith AGAIN, What smart meters and cards are you talking about to see and control what you use ???
    Will you turn off your gas when you are about to cook ???
    Will you turn your water tap off when you need a drink ???
    Will you turn your lights off at night, stop watching Television and burn candles and Kerosene lamps ???

  19. Milli Watt April 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    WHY YOU ALL DON’T leave this minister at this rate he and that crowd will be in the wilderness for 20 years he will be a miserable pensioner and no longer a threat to the political landscape on this island. I AGREE WITH YOU MINISTER AND WHILE YOU AT IT PUT A HIT ON BUS FARES………..GO MINISTER GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. jrsmith April 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    @, Mikey, hail, hail, I live in the (UK) so , here we go again……… , which can help us in barbados……

    • jennifer April 6, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      As I said above Jrsmith – good idea.

  21. Martin St Mark April 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Natural Gas is still much cheaper than propane gas. An incentive should be offered to home owners to install natural gas. This will provide a better economy of scale for the provider and the consuming public. Natural Gas is very cheap on the world market.

  22. concern bajan voter April 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    When all is said & done SOL will own BNTCL as well as NPC.
    No wonder the Don is looking to increase the price of Natural Gas

  23. h callndre April 27, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Barbadian people don’t know of Civil disobedience, they’re afraid of getting arrested and their heads getting cracked. That’s why you should not give any power to these people that still have that slave/master mentality. Barbados was the first stop where the African people were brought and made slaves out of them and you can still see it there.


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