Editorial: Flat rate utility bill

POSTED: 07/14/11 12:24 PM

The National Alliance has struck the correct note when it comes to what people want in this tough economic time by stating that GEBE should move to one flat rate when charging consumers. Their reasoning is that people want to know exactly what they are spending. That opinion is so very true.

A flat rate though is not the only way for people to know exactly what they are spending. There is another way: Pre-paid electricity. The system is not new and is being used right now in Curacao. The system is simple and allows people to know exactly how much they are paying and forces them to monitor their consumption. One key advantage is that people can turn off their appliances and leave home on vacation and not worry they’ll have to find money to pay a bill. Instead they’ll be able to finish what they have left in the meter before being confronted with more expense.

The advantage for the utility company is that it will be able to promote energy efficiency, be able to create a structural revenue stream based only on usage and it can retrain employees to work more with technology. There is also savings to be had as the company will not have to pay as much for meter readers to drive to neighborhoods and go door to door. Instead they can monitor homes from a distance and offer technical support when there are issues. This will save on gasoline and vehicle maintenance costs. It should also be noted that the entire customer base will never use this option because larger clients like businesses will continue to pay monthly bills.

So with these two ideas in the pot we’d suggest that stakeholders sit down and have a discussion about what they feel is the best way forward to not just ensure relief for a time period, but also to give people the chance to truly have a say in how much energy they consume.

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