Despite claims that electricity tariffs were increased by the Linden Utility Services Cooperative Society Limited (LUSCSL), Linden Mayor Waneka Arrindell said this is untrue and that residents continue to pay regular tariffs. In a letter to the editor, Arrindell responded to a newspaper article where Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton related that the management of LUSCSL, unilaterally increased tariffs for residents of Wismar. Minister Hamilton claimed that the increases varied among customers as some pay $160 per kilowatt, while others pay $186 or $205. LUSCSL purchases subsidized electricity from the Linden Power Company. In that regard, electricity tariffs at Wismar are slightly higher than that at Mackenzie.
This claims of increases however were also debunked by management and staff of LUSCSL. The management and the Interim Management Committee have been at loggerheads since its appointment. The Minister said that the reason for the increase was to strengthen its revenue streams but vehemently stated that increase in tariffs is not an option. He outlined other avenues which the coop can utilize to secure more income and to make it financially sustainable. He said that the Brazilian company, Constructora Queiroz S.A, which is constructing the Linden-Mabura Road has signaled its intention to purchase power from the co-op. He noted that previously the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company paid to use the poles of the co-op, but that arrangement no longer exists. He said he encouraged them to re-engage the company and begin fresh negotiations as well as to engage organizations that are indebted to the coop. He alluded to the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LMTC), that owes the coop millions of dollars. In the past, the coop took a decision to cut the electricity at the Wismar Municipal Market until these debts were paid by the council.
Mayor Arrindell said that despite the insinuation that millions are owed by the council, a simple fact check would have revealed that there is an unresolved dispute over who bears the responsibility for streetlight and the rates and taxes on the reserve in Linden. Arrindell said she is always ready to meet with elected officials and present them with factual evidence of the issues and circumstances faced by constituents of Linden.
Meanwhile residents of Wismar welcome the decision to not increase tariffs in the future given the current economic situation. Minister Hamilton explained that the government’s mission is to keep the lights on at Wismar despite the current challenges and infighting at the coop. The IMC he said was instituted to ensure proper accountability and effective management of the entity as it is a service provider