Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool announced on Tuesday that Government is moving swiftly to reduce the cost of electricity in the Territory and light the electricity bills of residents.
During what can be described as an update on his Ministerial projects, the Minister disclosed that the energy reduction plans are going well. He told the media: “The Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) has done an excellent job over the last 12-24 months, in providing a relatively stable supply of electricity. We are conscious of the high increase in your electric bills, and I want to assure you, that urgent steps are being taken, to reduce these costs, over the next 12-24 months.”
Hon. Vanterpool mentioned that one of the major steps being taken, besides the conservation and renewable energy efforts, involves the Phase Five of the Power Development Project in Pockwood Pond.
He explained that in this process, Government will be purchasing new engines, which will use LP Gas, as a difference from diesel, and anticipates a 30 percent savings in fuel costs, which the Corporation hopes to pass on to consumers.
During the 19 November sitting of the House of Assembly Premier Dr. The Hon. D. Orlando Smith challenged Ron Potter, the Chairman of the BVIEC to work on shrinking the cost of electricity, and in the process reduce the price paid by consumers.
Premier Smith during the debate of the Motion to appoint Mr. Potter said: “He (Potter) is a man of ideas and I think he is joining the Corporation at a very exciting time. When it is all about alternative energy, when it is all about reducing the cost of electricity. I know for the past several months I have seen many different groups who have many different ideas, but no one can reduce the cost of electricity.”
The Premier said that Mr. Potter would be able to assist the Ministers in coming up with the right decision as far as making electricity burden to the people of this territory become lighter.
Minister Vanterpool in his wrap-up of the debate explained that one of the overriding concerns in the community is how to get the electricity bills down, and he explained that Government and the Corporation continue to work towards this effort.
Hon. Vanterpool said: “The surcharge, we look at that every day and we want to be able to certainly work towards reducing that, and reducing the electricity bill. I was somewhere last week and somebody gave me two bills for the last two months or three months; and asked me why their electric bill doubled in three months time. I took the bills, copied them; and asked for investigations into this. There are issues like these that we look at.”
“Many persons have been suffering this way, and I asked the Corporation to review this to see what might be the problem; so we can have relief for the people over their electric bills in the not too distant future.”
In Hungary, the concept that government agencies and statutory boards must produce a profit has been drastically revised in recent years and as a result utility bills have seen reductions from 15 to 40 percent without putting the agencies and statutory boards under financial strains.