As a community-spirited person, I am not here to criticize or pass the blame, but to address the issues and come with solutions. NV GEBE needs to start thinking like a consumer and put themselves in the people’s position and address the issues as soon as possible with a permanent solution.
As we all know, load shedding should be something of the past. This is why the new Board and Management have accepted the challenge and now is the time to turn our local company around with a strategic plan for the next 5 to 10 years.
I have gotten so many calls from local business persons, acquaintances about what’s the issue with this constant load shedding. Businesses are losing money with the constant power outages within the last week and some business people are so concerned about their equipment and freezers getting damaged with the constant load shedding.
I have written so many articles that this is the time for NV GEBE to take us to the other level and the Board and Management have to start now by making firm decisions and plan for the next 10 years in the general interest of serving our people. Our population is growing and we have to plan for the future.
My advice to NV GEBE Board and Management is to restructure their Public Relations Department with a spokesperson and a Marketing person who will get out information to the public on time with a schedule of when there will be load shedding in the different districts so people can prepare, especially the business community.
A lot of people are very frustrated because they don’t get the information on time and electricity is going off three to four times within some districts.
Second, NV GEBE needs to have a separate insurance budget for person(s) who have a valid claim and suffers damages to their equipment and appliances. There must be a more improved complaint department.
Third, NV GEBE needs to start replacing some of these outdated engines and come up to date with new technology. The newly purchased engine is a good start in the right direction. We can’t continue with these outdated fossil fuel engines breaking down all the time. If you have to bring in some outside experts from Wärtsilä to check these engines and give us recommendations to better serve the community then do so.
Lastly, it is high time we start going solar and introducing other alternative energy. It’s a national shame from since I passed the National Energy policy in 2014 nothing has been done in alternative energy. St. Maarten was one of the first to have a national energy policy, but the last to start solar and alternative energy.
The current Minister of VROMI challenged NV GEBE to go solar by August 15, but they are still waiting to get the lease agreement to start the project. This is the time for NV GEBE Board and Management to learn from this experience and take NV GEBE to another level to better serve the community. No more load shedding in 2017.
I commend those who came out to protest their frustration on Monday, because this has been unacceptable, but with a new board and management team in place, let’s give them the opportunity to perform and get the job done so we can all enjoy a reliable supply of electricity.
It’s very unfair to blame the current Management when they have only been on the job for the past three weeks, but they have to hit the ground running and start addressing the issues with NV GEBE that is effecting the people.
USP Member Maurice Lake
Former Member of Parliament