Kuensel editorial points:
1. The hydropower is economic jewel to achieve socio- economic development.
2. The electricity tariff increase may hurt the individual pockets but we must not forget the larger national goals.
3. The revision is only 3% while the annual inflation the country experience is about 6% on the average.
1. I never expected a glowing editorial praising the hike in electricity tariff for Bhutanese consumers.
2. If inflation is 6% then 3% tariff increase makes it 9% more strain on individual income.
The 3% increase in rate every year for the next three years means that in aggregate it will be more than 10% increase in rate at the end of the 2nd year( 2018).
3. If " larger national goal " and " socio- economic goal" has no place for individual Bhutanese welfare than for whom is Bhutan planning for.
What are facts:
1. When I read the notification on electricity tariff increase, as an individual I was resigned to it like most consumers. But for sure I did not expect a follow up by the Government National Paper " Kuensel" to tell the Bhutanese consumers to be grateful for the increase in tariff because it was not as high as in United States of America.
1. The authorities can reduce hike in tariff every year by controlling the unnecessary cost escalations in hydro project costs. Maybe if Bhutanese authorities wish to compare electricity Unit price in Bhutan with United States as Kuensel has done then perhaps compare project cost escalations that happens in Bhutan with that in United States.
2. Stop telling the Bhutanese people that the nation will be better off with completion of hydro power projects if the welfare of every Bhutanese is not part of that national development goal as indicated by Kuensel.
3. I am grateful to this Government for the direct subsidy of 100 electricity units provided free to the rural village families.
A lot is made about providing electricity to remote part of Bhutan and actual cost that is incurred in so doing. Along with such trumpeting, the authorities should also take into considerations the environmental protection rules: restrictions on mining, felling trees to people and wildlife conflict. The individual Bhutanese do make sacrifices. It is not just Bhutan Power Corporation or Druk Green. Please note Electricity Unit rate touches lives of all Bhutanese.
Poor people do live in urban cities not just in villages. It should be possible to do without increasing the electrical rate upto to 100 units in urban cities for all Bhutanese. The benefit derived in cooking on electricity stoves rather than imported cooking gas alone should justify national goal to maintain at minimum the base 100 Units cost in urban Bhutan whilst providing free of cost upto 100 Units in rural Bhutan.