The government is taking measures to dampen electricity prices in the Caribbean Netherlands. For example, the fixed costs for grid management, now on average about 390 dollars, will go to 0 dollars in 2023. In addition, the cabinet will pay half of the variable rate for electricity if it exceeds 0.38 dollars per KWh. These measures apply to everyone: households, small and medium-sized enterprises, and sports and cultural institutions on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The measures, which are expected to cost 15 million euros, are contained in a letter that Minister Rob Jetten for Climate and Energy sent to the House of Representatives today. In the European Netherlands, from 1 January 2023, the support consists of a price ceiling on energy for all households and other small consumers.
Because these measures cannot be applied in the same way in the Caribbean Netherlands, a different scheme was chosen after consultation with the island governments and the electricity companies. In order to keep the measures on the islands feasible, it has been agreed that the money for the electricity bill will be paid to the energy company. In the implementation of the package for the Caribbean Netherlands, it will be examined whether the first measures can be taken from November, just like in the European Netherlands.
State Secretary Van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations is pleased with the approach chosen for the Caribbean Netherlands. “Everyone feels the increased cost of electricity in their wallet. The cabinet is trying to help where possible and that is why there is this regulation for the Caribbean Netherlands. This approach gives clarity to people.”
Previously, there was already an energy surcharge of 1300 dollars for households with an income of up to 130 percent of the legal minimum wage and a reduction in the excise duty on gasoline: 16 USD cents per liter for the first half of 2023 and 8 USD cents per liter for the second half of 2023. In addition, in October 2021, an amount of 2 million euros was made available for 2022 for the increased energy prices, which has reduced an important part of the fixed costs for grid management this year.
In order to keep the energy on the islands sustainable, affordable and reliable for the long term, the cabinet announced last week to make 33.6 million euros available for an accelerated switch to sustainable electricity on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This means that within 3 years, an average of about 80 percent of the electricity on the three islands will be generated with wind and solar energy. In addition to lower prices, this also results in less dependence on, for example, oil and considerably fewer nitrogen emissions.