PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — NV GEBE’s Commercial Department has been working tirelessly to rebuild its billing system, which includes recreating all customer accounts and restoring all customer master and technical data. This is due to the loss of all consumer information during the ransomware attack by cyber criminals in March 2022.
“The community can rest assured that this is a very serious matter that has our full attention. All hands are on deck!” shares Troy Washington, N.V. GEBE’s Temporary Manager. “We truly appreciate all of N.V. GEBE’s employees. Many are going above and beyond to contribute twice as much work within a shorter timeframe to complete key tasks. In particular, I commend the Commercial Department for their great efforts thus far. Together, we are working hard to swiftly resolve issues and better serve the community of St. Maarten, which remains our main focus,” says Washington.
With a commercial team comprised of five (5) staff members, the time required to input a year of data loss for thousands of customers has been a tedious undertaking. However, with the fervent focus on viable solutions, N.V. GEBE’s Commercial Manager, Iris Arrindell, and her team have approached this major undertaking relentlessly with the commitment of countless overtime hours. Additional administrative support staff, including those from other departments within the organization, have also been temporarily assigned to help expedite the billing process.
Furthermore, eight (8) young professionals have been recruited in partnership with NIPA for temporary employment at N.V. GEBE. They are providing critical assistance with crucial aspects of manual data organization.
Due to the joint team effort, 90% of the customer master data, including consumer names, account numbers, addresses, etc., have been successfully restored. Approximately 70% of the technical data, including connections and installations, have been (re)entered. The team is working around the clock to rebuild the data for thousands of customer accounts, which is being actively done, along with the ongoing daily operations.
Furthermore, N.V. GEBE has returned to having customers created directly in the system instead of manually. This particular aspect requires undergoing the detailed customer application process and entry of original data for every new customer, as well as updates for the previous year’s 5,000+ customers that are also being re-entered into the system simultaneously.
To ensure sustainable financial management for all respective parties, customers were previously asked to make monthly payments based on their average utility usage. Upon review of customer billing and recent (non) payment trends, kindly note the following:
– If customer payments are not made, the outstanding amounts will accrue on each monthly bill and reflect a combined total. The system automatically calculates and includes any/all outstanding amounts, which has been GEBE’s standard billing process.
– If payments were made and not correctly applied to customer accounts, those customers are asked to please contact N.V. GEBE to reconcile their accounts. Once verified, adjustments will be made to accurately reflect those payments on customer accounts.
– Customers who already visited N.V. GEBE with billing issues are asked to please be patient as the data is still being processed into the system. Current bills can be acquired by contacting GEBE, as listed below, or customers will be contacted after corrections are made. Updated bills will either be delivered or e-mailed to customers.
– If payments were made and the customer failed to put the contract account number, GEBE will not be able to apply the payment. We are asking those customers to bring in their receipts to N.V. GEBE.
– Persons who did a manual move-in / move-out (1573 customers) from March 16 – August 30, 2022, are hereby informed that our agents are busy creating accounts in our system (which is five and a half months of data).
– For customers (3593 customers) who had accounts in 2021 up to March 16, 2022, N.V. GEBE is still busy recreating technical master data.
– Customers who had device changes between March 2021 and March 2022, this technical master data is still being processed.
– There are also customers for whom N.V. GEBE has no master data documented; however, the physical meter is in the field. N.V. GEBE will provide more information on how to bridge that gap. These customers are asked to continue making estimated payments based on the average consumption via the bank to keep their accounts current.
– For customers who have closed their accounts and are waiting to receive a refund, they will be contacted when N.V. GEBE is ready to issue those respective refunds. Customers who have closed off their accounts and have outstanding amounts should make the necessary payments to clear their accounts.
N.V. GEBE is striving to have all customer data and billing processes fully restored and completely active. Customers who have not received a bill or have any billing concerns are asked to contact GEBE via our help desk at: (721) 546-1100/ 546-1160, e-mail: email@example.com, WhatsApp: +1721-588-3117 or, at the Philipsburg/Simpson Bay branch offices. If there are any billing discrepancies, GEBE has implemented a special customer support help desk and additional customer service agents to assist with any inquiries.
Customers are hereby reminded to make all outstanding payments (for March – August 2022) if they haven’t done so already. The records reflect that, thus far, only a limited number of customers (i.e., 50%) have been compliant with the regular payment of their average monthly utility usage.
N.V. GEBE remains dedicated to powering the entire Community of St. Maarten with reliable electricity and water services on a continual basis. Therefore, customers are urged to uphold their responsibility to pay, at least, the average monthly consumption. The timely payment of bills helps to ensure the sustainable operations of St. Maarten’s sole utility company. This, consequently, serves everyone’s benefit, as we all rely on the continuous supply of electricity and water.
“Working together with dedication, understanding, patience, and community support, particularly with the fulfillment of our respective obligations, N.V. GEBE shall continue to efficiently power the community of St. Maarten,” shares Washington.
N.V. GEBE stands firmly on its mission to serve consumers as a committed company that provides reliable, cost-effective, quality electricity, water, and waste management services in a safe, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and innovative manner.
Towards this end, ongoing community updates with additional details on various relevant matters will be provided. Please remain abreast of the website: www.nvgebe.com and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/nvgebe, as well as the relevant media outlets for further information.