“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.