WIB: Alternative energy can help low income earners too

POSTED: 11/7/12 12:40 PM

St. Maarten – The alternative energy show that occurred over the weekend has been hailed a success by the Windward Island Bank (WIB) but its marketing and public relations officer Ferdinand Beauperthuy is still disappointed that more “ordinary people” did not attend the show.

“We had more business persons that made enquiries and a little less of the ordinary people. I felt that was a little shameful because in the majority of cases, the products that were being displayed would more help smaller home owners and not commercial settings.”

However Beauperthuy’s sentiments were not shared by St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association President Emil Lee, who told us over the weekend, that the prices of many of the products may not have been affordable for the “average man”, especially in tough economic times.

Beauperthuy revealed that when WIB started out with the alternative show concept, it was on shaky ground.

“When we started off with the concept of the show, we only had two businesses so we were a little nervous. But then we realized that in coordinating it more than 20 different businesses were focused on our theme and were coming together.”

He spoke of the objective of the show, which was the first of its kind for St. Maarten.

“Our main purpose was to keep the community at large informed and all get a comparative and competitive pricing for the consumer. Now even after the show people have been making enquires to get the contact information of some of these businesses because they did not make it to the show.”

The alternative energy show was held on Saturday at the Port-de-Plaisance parking lot. Apart from the exhibitors, WIB loan representatives also had a booth.

“I do know that was a little slow but we did not anticipate that it would be a great demand. Because we understand that the enquiry process has to start. People need to find out information first and after they have compiled their information, then they make their comparisons and get quotes from various players and then they will make a definitive decision. We didn’t expect the immediate loan and financing enquiry on the spot but we are looking towards the future to see some of those customers come into us,” Beauperthuy said.

During the show the bank recorded less than 5 requests for financing but before the event 5 clients had already secured loans for various alternative energy systems. Beauperthuy indicated that one of the loans was for a commercial enterprise and the four others were personal loans.

In the meantime, the bank plans to produce a brochure with all of the exhibition’s participants, their products and contact information for people to readily locate them.

When asked if WIB itself had invested in alternative energy, Beauperthuy said that this has not been done on large scale but a few adjustments have been made in the area of conservation.

“All the lightning is on a sensor system for the office and bathroom facilities. This means that the lights only work with mobility. We also have a warehouse and storage room that was created actually at the top of the building, because the water that is collected on the top of the roof is utilized for the flushing and the bathrooms and so forth.”

But the new bank building that is currently being constructed will make provisions for alternative energy.

“Solar might not be able to do the whole building based on the roof structure and so forth but we will definitely do parts of the building. I have not seen where some of the air conditioning units and size requirements for a building such as ours will be able to fit, based on those that were on display at the show,” Beauperthuy said.

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