How permanent is temporary

Last year, June 30th, WEB threatened to increase our water bill, on the following day, July 1st, 2022. Reportedly, the company was in a precarious financial situation and needed to replenish its reserves. The company explained it delayed increases for a long time, and was choking under the weight of its obligations. The increase was to be temporary, six months max, they said.

GOA immediately sprung into action as the people’s advocate, asking to review the rates in order to arrive at a more just scale.

The increase was postponed for twenty minutes and at the end of this charade, we were punished with a 26% increase, in the hottest months of the year, where ELMAR, also enjoying the amplified tariffs secured by WEB, charged us an arm and a leg for running our air-conditioners.

How permanent is temporary, that is the question.

The increase in prices was blamed on the high prices on the heavy fuel oil used to generate our water and electricity, but the prices have been dropping, and its January, 2023, six months passed, WEB’s reserves should have recovered, but we are still paying the outlandish tariffs and in view of inflation, and the reform-less tax increases, they are even heavier to bear.

AHATA protested, by sending two unanswered letters, the Unions protested, once, a few meetings were held, but nothing changed.

The minister in charge claims to be looking into the matter.

What is he looking at?

What would it take to bring these murderous rates back down again?

Can you please be transparent about the process?

Is it a management-decision or does the minister override everything they do?

As reported in the media, the minister went shopping for an alternative fuel provider, but a few days after his visit, his counterpart in the Ecuadorian government was sent to jail, and the minister is said to be talking to his successor.

AHATA’s letter to the ministers:  One month ago (on December 6, 2022) we sent you a letter to you to inquire about the promised reduction of Aruba’s water and electricity rates in 2023, and we are following up on the pending reply. In addition to the Government and WEB announcing the intention last year to increase the utility rates for 6 months only, the global prices for Heavy Fuel Oil have decreased significantly since the first 6 months of 2022. Considering the immense financial burden that the increased utility tariffs have place on Aruba’s consumers and businesses, and the added burden of the recent tax hikes, AHATA considers it essential to the wellbeing of the local community that the utility rates are reduced within the next 30 days. We hope to receive your reply soonest and are available for a meeting to discuss in person, if preferrable. Kind regard

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January 17, 2023
Rona Coster