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GEBE Needs To Change!

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It's time for the people of St. Maarten to take a stand. The people of St. Maarten should refuse to take any more crap from GEBE.

GEBE N.V, located on the island of St. Maarten, is guilty of holding electricity and water hostage. Every month people pay their bills - like a monthly ransom- with their hard earned money - with no guarantee that they will receive electricity. On a nearly daily basis GEBE cuts power to random areas without warning. The company's reasons range from rats eating through power lines to seaweed blocking intake lines for cooling the power plant. GEBE has lost sight of the fact the electricity is our RIGHT. We are not asking for a privilege. We are demanding to be provided with something we have paid for. Do you go to the store and pay $3OO for an appliance then walk out of the store without it? We should expect no less for electricity. We paid our bills, we want what's rightfully ours.

On more than one occasion the company has cried that it simply doesn't have the money to do the proper upgrades. There was a report in the paper about over $2O million guilders unaccounted for and the end of the last fiscal year. There are over 35,OOO people living on the Dutch side St. Maarten. A simple scenario where the average household bill is $1OO USD/month gives GEBE an estimated earning of $3.5OO,OOO.OO USD/month. That equals $42,OOO,OOO USD/year. FORTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS. This is a VERY low estimation, as it's well known that many people pay well over $3OO USD/month. That does NOT include the business which can average $5,OOO to $13,OOO USD/month. Here's another simple scenario: 15OO business at an average of $5OOO USD/month gives GEBE $7,5OO,OOO USD/month. That equals $9O,OOO,OOO USD/year. NINETY MILLION DOLLARS.

The grand yearly total: $132,OOO,OOO USD/year.

And these are VERY low estimates, people. Have no doubt about it. Where is all this money going? Who's doing the books? There's obviously a clerical error if the company is claiming there isn't enough  money. Maybe the accountants have been doing the books in the dark.

Along with the headaches of no electricity comes the alarming amount of household damage. The amount of destroyed appliances and electronics is mounting on a daily basis, but reimbursement is next to impossible. Though GEBE may take responsibility that they are causing the damage with constant black outs - their reimbursement policy is ridiculous. Their simple solution: Unplug all said appliances and electronics to avoid a power surge. - How is that possible when there is no advanced warning of when the power will go off? There are days when the power goes on and off 3 - 4 times a day, sometimes blackouts are within minutes of each other and sometimes they last 2 - 4 hours. In the last 2 months the average household has lost 1/3 of it's usual usage, yet the bills are over 1/2 more. A bill of $15OUSD is now $356 USD, despite the daily loss of power for 2-4 hours on a nearly daily basis. And the billing system itself is flawed. On one of my recent bills it stated that for the 1st two weeks of July I had no kilowatt usage, yet in the last two weeks I used 397 kilowatts. How can I have no power usage in my home for TWO WEEKS when I live in my home year 'round? Check you bills. CHALLENGE your bills. CHALLENGE GEBE.

And now summer is approaching and those of us who've been here long enough know what that means: MORE outages. GEBE is notorious for cutting power during hot summer months, claiming it is unable to keep up with the demand due to air conditioner usage. We hear the same excuses every year around the holidays, too. GEBE cries it cannot keep up with consumption due to all the holiday lights. It will be a dark summer regardless if you pay your bill or not. Many sweltering summer nights will be lit by candle light...not so quaint and romantic when it's not your choice. 92 degrees at midnight with no breeze and you're getting eaten alive by mosquitos, or your child is sick with fever and you can't cool your child down - do you think GEBE gives a damn? When the one and only source of water and electricity cannot provide a service, where do you turn?

The company has a 'website' where customers can post their grievances - but to no avail. No one answers. Power goes out and the company posts that an update will be available within the hour. Their next post comes FIVE HOURS later. And posts that the company deems inappropriate are simply being deleted. Yet the bills go higher and higher. Enough is enough.

Sign this petition and let GEBE know you've had enough!


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