Electricity, potable water law for islands approved

The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved the Caribbean Netherlands Electricity and Potable Water Law, writes The Daily Herald.

This law proposal regulates the production and distribution of electricity and drinking water in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. It aims to achieve dependable, sustainable and affordable electricity and potable water services on the three islands.

The law was deemed necessary in light of the establishing of the St. Eustatius Utility Company and the Saba Electric Company per January 2014. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate ILT will be in charge of the supervision.

All parties in the Second Chamber voted in favour of the law proposal which will now go to the First Chamber for handling. The law will go into effect once the First Chamber has given the green light, after the publication in the National Gazette.

The amendment of Member of the Second Chamber Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA to limit the monthly cost of water and electricity for low-income families in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba failed to get sufficient support, and was rejected. Only the PvdA, the Socialist party (SP), the ChristianUnion and a few smaller parties supported the amendment.

Consequently, Van Laar withdrew his motion to introduce a special electricity tariff for low-income families on the islands. The motion became superfluous since Parliament had just rejected his amendment.

Van Laar’s second motion to research the possibilities to introduce a pre-paid system for residents in St. Eustatius and Saba so they can buy drinking water for a lower, Dutch tariff, was carried. Only the liberal democratic VVD party and the Party for Freedom PVV voted against this motion.

An amendment by Member of the Second Chamber Reinette Klever of the PVV to eliminate the subsidies of the Dutch Government to assist in the covering of the distribution costs of drinking water and electricity on the three islands, and a related motion, were voted down.

Parliament carried a motion of Agnes Mulder and Van Laar requesting the Dutch Government to draft a plan by the summer of 2016 that aims to realise affordable and maximum, if possible 100 per cent, sustainable energy facilities in the Caribbean Netherlands.

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