I, Julian Rollocks Jr, noticed with great concern that on November 9th, 2023, it was reported in the media that GEBE intends to give its clients their outstanding bills in bulk with a distinct possibility of clients getting twenty outstanding bills simultaneously. GEBE also announced that clients would only have a thirty day grace period to settle their outstanding bills. I, Julian Rollocks Jr., would like to pose the following questions to the Board and Management of GEBE.
Firstly, with the Christmas season steadily approaching and the difficult economic times that the public is facing, where are they supposed to find money to make bulk payments of outstanding bills? Has GEBE considered a payment plan, and if so, is GEBE willing to accept, for example, 50fls a month on $2000.00 worth of outstanding bills?
Has GEBE considered the plight of our pensioners and people with varying illnesses when they have to contend with these bulk payments? I am calling on Prime Minister Jacobs, and the Council of Ministers, to step in and resolve GEBE’s bulk payment proposal because 80% of the general public do not have comparable salaries to the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers to make bulk payments.
In August of 2022, I proposed via a press release that GEBE introduce a prepaid electricity service to the general public of St. Maarten due to the ongoing issues that GEBE has had with its billing system. I indicated that prepay meters are a “pay as you go” (PAYG) system that would offer GEBE customers the luxury of not having to worry about monthly bills. If for some reason, you are struggling to pay GEBE’s bills, prepayment meters can be used to repay a set amount over a period of time that is suitable to the customer.
I also stated that the implementation of a prepaid system would allow our citizens to control how much they are willing to spend on energy usage rather than getting unexpected bills on a monthly basis while also cutting administrative costs of GEBE.
On the 24th of October, Prime Minister Jacobs and the director of NRPB had a meeting where it was stated that the NRPB would be assisting GEBE. When does the NRPB intend to assist GEBE and in what capacity does the NRPB intend to do so?
GEBE’s decision to implement bulk payments is not in the general interest of the public of St. Maarten and I am calling on the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, and Parliament, to resolve the bulk payment proposal as soon as possible because it will be detrimental to the people of St. Maarten.