Philipsburg:--- The Minister of Economic Affairs Franklin Meyers announced on Wednesday that the Government of St. Maarten is ready to introduce its own tariff structure at GEBE, a measure he believes will force GEBE to the negotiating table with government.
The Minister of Economic Affairs said he sent numerous letters to GEBE requesting the unprotected report but GEBE did not respond to his letters. Minister Meyers said government allowed GEBE to introduce its new tariff structure based on the KEMA report if their pricing could have been substantiated. Meyers said government wants GEBE to provide them with the unprotected figures of their cost and tariff structures so they could determine whether or not the true cost is passed on to the consumer and not the company's in-efficiencies. "I am basically forced to implement the international norms per kilowatt at GEBE, hoping that this would bring the company to the negotiating table." The Minister further explained that international consumers are charged 0.25cts per kilowatt while GEBE charges its consumers 0.29cents per kilowatt. Meyers said he will be sending a letter to GEBE before the end of this week which would indicate to them what tariff structure they have to implement.
The Minister further explained that his Ministry can no longer wait on GEBE and since GEBE is not responding to government he has to do what is necessary to make them comply. He said GEBE has over Naf. 70 million in their accounts and he believes that they will survive the next four months. When asked if government conducted any study on the tariff structure, the Minister said that government did not conduct any studies and the only report they have is the KEMA report.