The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) has not declared a profit in the last nine years.
The State company was before the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Land and General Infrastructure yesterday where it was revealed that the company ran at a loss for the past nine years.
Company general manager Kelvin Ramsook yesterday said that he was now concerned that the continued financial constraints would affect the company’s reliability.
“The Commission has been operating with an income of roughly $3.2 billion and an expenditure of $4.3 billion. That puts us at a difference of $1.1 billion which is what you would consider the loss,” he said.
Ramsook said that wages and salaries were not a large contributor to the company’s debt.
“At this time, based on the manpower audit, we have no intention at this time (to reduce staff),” he said.
“Just to put it into perspective, if you say 312 employees to go home, that’s 52 million dollars, I looking for a billion, $1.1 billion,” Ramsook said.
Member of the JSC Kennedy Richards yesterday questioned what would happen if the Government was unable to bridge the gap of company losses.
“I understand what’s happening, we all live here and we in a situation where I want to be honest, I am equally scared,” Ramsook said.
“So I mean I really don’t have an answer,” he said.
Ramsook said that while TTEC owed millions to the National Gas Company (NGC), the Government is managing that arrangement to pay off that debt.
“So that has moved away the debt up to 2018 and of course we are having further discussions,” he said.
Ramsook said employees were properly trained to climb poles and work with electricity.
“When we look at the number of people that are going to leave in the next five years, it is 267 people. I have to cater for them and give them enough time to train,” he said.
Member of the JSC, United National Congress MP Saddam Hussein also asked about losses related to illegal connections. But Ramsook said that illegal connections led to .25 per cent of the company’s overall loss.
“Our losses on the Commission is made up of two categories, our losses on the system is roughly nine per cent of which the majority is what you call technical losses. Technical losses are like you have long lines and fees. That is technical losses,” Ramsook said.
Ramsook said that according to his “guesstimate” there were approximately 3,000 illegal connections.
The closure of the Alutrint plant, Ramsook said, impacted the company.
“With the closing of the Alutrint plant, that plant was expected to take 270 megawatts. With the closure of that Alutrint plant, the way the power purchase agreement was set up, the Commission would have to pay for (it),” he said.
Chairman of the JSC, Deoroop Teemul said that while sustaining the losses was a challenge for the Commission, he did not think they could recover those losses with tariffs.