by Marlon Madden
Some Barbadians began to pay slightly more for natural gas as of last month, with commercial entities being more affected. The National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) has announced an increase in the price for natural gas, while pointing out that the last increase to its rates was in July 2017.
“The National Petroleum Corporation will continue to provide a safe and reliable service to our customers and ask for your support as we serve you,” said the statutory corporation. While there will be no increase in the monthly consumption rate of $1.70 per cubic metre
for households, the rental fees associated with the service has doubled.
The rental fee for households has moved from $5 to $10. However, all other fees for domestic customers remain unchanged. Meanwhile, the utility company noted that commercial customers will pay an increase in their rates, going from $1.70 for the first 150 cubic metre to $2.28 for the first 500 cubic metres.
The next 151 to 5,000 cubic metre will go from $1.60 to a new rate of $2.24 for 501 to 2,500 cubic metres. It will now cost businesses $2.22 for use of 2,501 to 10,000 cubic metres, instead of $1.50 for use of between 5,000 and 20,000 cubic metres.
Use of over 20,000 cubic metres used to cost $1.41, but commercial customers will now pay $2.20 for use over 10,000. The metre rental fee for commercial customers will increase by $10 to now cost $25. All bills attract a rate of 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). The increases took effect April 1, 2022.
Meanwhile, all other charges including deposit for natural gas supply, deposit for metre testing, installation fee and reconnection fee will all remain the same. It is estimated that more than 16,000 households are users of natural gas in Barbados across several parishes, with the primary use being for cooking.
A minor discount is usually offered to customers who pay their bill within a certain number of days of the date of billing. This increase in natural gas rates comes amidst increases in other commodity prices including food prices and petrol at the pumps.