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Fitz Hughes

Fitz Hughes, one of the communities worst affected by the eruption. (Internet photo)

Leader of the opposition, Godwin Friday, has called for the cancelation of water and electricity bills in the areas worst hit by the explosive eruption of La Soufriere volcano. 

“VINLEC and CWSA have said they will suspend bills in communities in the worst hit areas. I want to urge them here to go further than a mere suspension of those bills and to urge them to cancel the bills for homeowners and businesses in the communities in the danger zone,” Friday told a New Democratic Party press conference last week.

“When are these people going to be able to get back on their feet to be able to continue to pay the bills that they normally would do?” he said.

He said that cancelling the bills will be “a gesture of faith and support”.

“Faith in the resilience of the people in the area. Give them the commitment that we are behind them as institutions in their recovery; and give them real material assistance in aiding in that recovery,” Friday said.

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“So I want to urge VINLEC and the CWSA to go beyond the suspension, because suspension means you suspend it now and you start paying sometime later on, but to cancel those bills for those persons who are in those communities that are severely affected.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, Chief Executive Officer of VINLEC, Thornley Myers, said that VINLEC will suspend electricity bills for all customers north of Belle Isle and Mt Young — some 5,048 customers who have been affected by the eruption.  

Myers told a press conference on Friday that these customers, generally speaking, in the Red zone and some in the Orange zone, most of them have not been using electricity, having evacuated.

“And those customers are having difficulties where they are, adjusting to life in their new ‘homes’…. It is not our intention to further burden them at this time with an electricity bill,” Myers said.

He said that while these people are not using electricity, there is a period of time during the billing cycle when they did.

“That is not our immediate concern now. Recognising the difficulties, recognising the situation, we have decided we are suspending bills to those customers,” Myers said.

Myers urged customers who are at home and consuming electricity to pay their bills, adding that a suspension is not in their interest.

“Because if we suspend electricity bills to you, when your meter is eventually read, it means that you are going to see an electricity bill with a significant amount of consumption at that point in time and, therefore, you will receive a relatively large electricity bill to reflect that consumption…” Myers said.

“We understand that these are difficult times for all Vincentians. But, there are others who are having it more difficult,” he said.

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4 Comments

  1. Privatize Vinlec. Or show everybody how much the company is worth and other financial figures, like profits. There is a thing called insurance, All married men know about that, bachelors do too. (so) these Vinlec men they know that too. A word of caution, If you let a sailor drown (in front of everybody)people will hate you; you will never be the same after that. But unscrupulous individuals also live among us all with a ton load of heavy baggage when they meet the Creator.

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  2. Mr Thornley Myers, I kindly suggest that you follow through on the advice of the Opposition Leader. That will be a compassionate and merciful gesture to those people affected in the worst-hit areas.
    If you don’t wish to, then I suggest you give the people at least 50% discount on their bills. The people are already stressed out due to Covid and more so the volcanic eruptions. Please be merciful! Thank you.

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  3. The only reason they suspended the bills is because they have no one to deliver them and no one to read the meters nor anyone to receive the bills in the red zone. As soon as this is over they gonna read the meters compare it to the previous reading and bill you for it. Vinlec never help. In fact they gonna charge more and say it’s to aid in reconstructing the environment.

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