(Adds PN statement, PL's reply)

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat came the closest yet to admitting that the new gas-fired power station will not be ready by March when he said the reduction of energy bills was not dependent on the new plant.

Dr Muscat was answering a question this morning after visiting the De La Rue factory in Bulebel.

The power station and related gas-handling infrastructure had to be ready by March next year when a reduction of 25 per cent in utility rates for businesses should also come into effect.

Dr Muscat said in March the energy bills for industry will go down as promised.

"Our plan to reduce energy costs does not depend exclusively on the new power station being operational in March but forms part of a holistic plan," Dr Muscat said.

Energy bills were reduced by 25 per cent for households in March this year.

The government is committed to shift power generation to the much cleaner natural gas and depends on the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal and a new 200MW power plant that are to be built by Electrogas, a private consortium that won the competition to build the infrastructure and supply energy to Enemalta.


In a statement, the Nationalist Party said Dr Muscat should keep to his pre-election promise and see that the new power station was completed by March, so as to be able to finance the reduction in water and electricity bills as promised.

The PN noted that whenever it had expressed its reservations on the need for a new plant, Dr Muscat always insisted that this was necessary for a reduction in bills.

The Maltese, the PN said, expected to be able to put their mind at rest that Dr Muscat would not go back on his promise in line with seriousness and responsibility.


In a reply, the Labour Party said that as tariffs had been reduced for families last March, they would also be reduced for businesses next March.

The Nationalist Party had increased water and electricity tariffs to the highest level they had ever been in Maltese history and then voted against a reduction in tariffs. When Labour came up with a plan to reduce them, PN leader Simon Busuttil said this was a gimmick.

The PL said that while the PN was used to mediocrity making promises it did not intend to keep, the PL in government was keeping its word and implementing its electoral commitments.

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