Malta Can’t Just Slash Electricity Tariffs Because China Owns Part Of Enemalta, Finance Minister Says
Cover photo: Then Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi signing a deal with Shanghai Electric back in 2014,
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has confirmed that the government’s hands are tied in terms of reducing electricity tariffs because China owns a stake in the national energy provider Enemalta.
“[Enemalta] is not just the government’s company,” Scicluna said in an interview with Times of Malta. “You also have the Chinese now. It is not ours to say, OK, let’s lower this or increase that.”
He said the government hasn’t ruled out considering such a request and that it still has a majority shareholding in Enemalta, but that any decision must respect both the public interest and the viability of the company and its hedging commitments.
Back in 2014, the Chinese state-owned company Shanghai Electric Power purchased 33% of Enemalta, as well as the majority stake of the BWSC station, in an investment estimated at €320 million.
Then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi had hailed the deal as one that would bring an ailing Enemalta back on its feet and slash the debts it had accumulated over the years.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, the PN has urged the government to slash electricity and water tariffs by 50% for households and businesses alike.