PHILIPSBURG–In an effort to alleviate the burden on households and businesses in the midst of the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic crisis, water and electricity company GEBE will be granting consumers across the board a six-month relief in the form of a lower fuel clause, which can result in lower bills. The company will also not be disconnecting its clients’ water and light for now.
The relief came after discussions between GEBE and Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Christopher Wever and Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion. The two ministers met with GEBE’s Managing and Supervisory Boards of Directors on Thursday, March 19, to discuss the company granting financial relief to its customers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Managing Board did some forecasting and modelling to verify what can be offered as relief to its customers, GEBE said in a press statement on Monday.
GEBE has decided that it will grant a fixed fuel clause of NAf. 0.18 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for the coming six months, starting April 1. The fuel clause currently stands at NAf. 0.22 per kwh. This means the reduction represents a discount of NAf. 0.04 per kwh. The relief will apply to domestic, commercial and industrial clients.
GEBE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenrick Chittick said the relief can result in “a substantial reduction” in consumers’ bills. “However, it can only be realised by minimising consumption,” he noted. Consumers must be mindful of their use of electricity during this “relief” period to ensure a decrease in their monthly invoices, he added. “Bear in mind that, having to be at home, your consumption (kwh) may increase compared to normally. Conserve energy as much as possible,” he added.
Chittick said also that disconnection of electricity and water will not take place “for the time being.” However, he encourages customers to remain in good standing with the company to prevent an accumulation of arrears. He said customers having difficulty in paying their bills will be required to visit GEBE’s Customer Care Department to arrange a payment plan. Customers without such a plan could face disconnection of services when the company resumes normal operations.
Customers can also make payments online by going to
www.nvgebe.com and going to My Account and Sign Up. “There are many features that will benefit you as a customer with online payments. Customers who come to the office to make payments are asked to please adhere to the rules in order to minimise the spread of the virus,” he said.
He assured that there are no issues with GEBE’s water and electricity supply and these will not be affected. “We have been in contact with our water producer and our fuel supplier. Our fuel supplier made arrangements for fuel delivery to the island and will continue to do so.”
The Managing Board encourages everyone to remain vigilant in battling COVID-19 and to bear in mind that each person within the community is the keeper of others.