The Daily Herald writes that Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Energy Chris Johnson said, he believes that the key to the smooth transition from former electricity provider GEBE to new Saba Electricity Company (SEC) was consistency.
This has been the key point in discussions with the Netherlands, as partner in the company, Commissioner Johnson said. He pointed out that this was the reason why former GEBE board members Roy Smith of the Shareholders Foundation and Ray Hassell of the Supervisory board had been brought over from the former board of GEBE to the board of SEC. “Their combined knowledge, after years of looking out for Saba’s interests in GEBE, will be invaluable to SEC and the people of Saba at this time,” stressed the Commissioner.
Johnson said he wanted to allay any concerns the public may have about increases to their electricity bills, stating that, “The tariff for electricity – the cost per kilowatt hour – will remain the same as it was under GEBE. The price of fuel will continue to be pegged to the price of fuel on St. Maarten, even though we use diesel here, which is more expensive than the fuel used there. The point of departure in the discussions with the Netherlands was that the price for electricity would remain constant relative to that of St. Maarten.” Since the beginning of the year the Executive Council, board members and company management have been meeting regularly to ensure the proper start of the new company. The Commissioner said it is very important for all stakeholders to discuss a plan of action as a way to move forward as a new company. “This way everyone knows their role in the process and everyone is working in the same agreed upon direction.”
As with any new company there are many issues facing the newly established organization such as future administrative operation of the company as a new entity and technical challenges facing the company, Johnson explained. While the company has gotten off to a low-key start, the public will soon begin to see some changes, such as a new SEC logo, which will be placed on the front of all buildings and on all vehicles. Later this year, construction will begin for a new power plant since land has recently been acquired for this purpose. SEC is to provide a vital role to Saba, which makes it perhaps the “most essential” asset the island has, which is not something the commissioner takes lightly. “The last few years have been filled with many discussions, actions and decisions about our new company. Now the time has come to make real choices and take action on how we will move forward and what we will do to make this company succeed,” Commissioner Johnson concluded.