Van Huffelen says goal to keep electricity affordable

“We hope to keep the electricity bill affordable for everyone in the Caribbean Nether­lands,” said Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Re­lations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen on Wednesday.

The Dutch government announced on Thesday that it will make 15 million eu­ros available for measures to lower the energy cost in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Per January 1, 2023, the fixed tariffs for elec­tricity, now on average US $390 per connection, will go to zero.

In addition, The Hague will cover half of the vari­able tariff for electricity if the price surpasses $0.38 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). These compensation mea­sures are for everyone on the three islands: house­holds, small and medium-sized businesses, sports and cultural institutions, Van Huffelen emphasised dur­ing a digital press confer­ence.

The new measures, which will last the entire next year, are part of a large package to help people in the Neth­erlands and the Caribbean Netherlands through the energy crisis and rising in­flation. Earlier measures for the Caribbean Nether­lands included a one-time $1,300 energy compensa­tion for low-income house­holds, the reduction of the excise on fuel and a contri­bution of two million euros to help reduce the fixed tariffs.

“We hope that with these measures, everyone will be able to pay their electricity bill. This will make a differ­ence for the people,” said Van Huffelen, who hoped that together with the ef­fects of the 33.6-million­euro investment in sustain­able energy projects on the islands, the electricity tar­iffs would go down in the coming years.

Asked by the media what could be done for Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, the state secretary said that in principle these were au­tonomous countries with their own responsibilities. “The countries will have to get to work themselves to arrange a cost reduction or compensation.”

However, she said, there will be talks with the coun­tries to see if the Neth­erlands can still help the countries to generate more renewable energy. Possi­bilities for the countries to tap into the Dutch Growth Fund are being looked at.

The Daily Herald.

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