GEBE gives relief on the fuel clause
Energy is a major cost to the economy of the Dutch Windward Islands, and GEBE has been vigorous in its promotion of energy efficiency amongst all of its customers. As the year progressed, international fuel prices soared and new record highs are being set month after month, with the price hovering around US$144 per barrel at the end of June 2008.
GEBE Managing Director William Brooks with a new vision to provide high quality and reliable electricity and water services in a customer oriented and cost effective manner, announced on Monday a relief on the Fuel Clause of Naf.4.5 cents per kilowatt hour for all consumers. This relief will translate into a reduction of almost 6% on the total bill and almost 9% on the Fuel Clause. As of July 1 consumers will see the "GEBE Fuel Clause Relief" printed on their bill. The relief will show up as a credit and will be deducted from the total amount owed.
Additional relief has been brought to the business community with the reduction of the Fuel Clause on water, which is only charged to non residential accounts. GEBE hopes to maintain this Fuel Clause relief on the water as long as the oil prices remain at record high levels. Businesses who use a large amount of water will notice a reduction in their water bills as of July.
The company invested in new modern generating equipment capable of operating on the least expensive Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to help moderate the increases in electricity prices. Due to the high demand for these engines the delivery time is more than two years. GEBE purchased the engines in August 2007 and they will arrive on St. Maarten in October of 2008 and will be commissioned around March 2010. In the meantime GEBE is trying to generate as much as possible on HFO.
However, the companyâ??s efforts to moderate the effects of fuel prices were dampened by the record high oil prices. Realizing the extra burden the high prices have on the local economy GEBE decided to give the relief for a few months. We will have to carefully monitor our operational expenses and the investment requirements during the period of this relief to ensure viability of the company.
Despite the fact that we are a relative small organization having to incur all the cost, e.g. fuel transportation cost, throughput fee, we have been able to bring about this additional relief to our consumers. It is expected that this news will be well received by the community at large and especially small and medium size hotels who are heading into the low season with reduced occupancy rates, GEBE Managing Director William Brooks explained.