Conditions for seniors-relief on utility bills remain unclear

POSTED: 06/14/14 12:22 AM

St. Maarten – The conditions seniors citizens must meet to qualify for Gebe’s utility relief program are still unclear. The registration form applicants have to fill in does not contain a single question about electricity consumption or household income.

When the utilities company announced the initiative in March, consumption and household income were mentioned as two of the criteria, though at that time no decision was taken yet about the actual numbers.

Earlier this week Gebe opened registration for the relief program and invited seniors to pick up a registration form. The accompanying information sheet only mentions that applicants must be 62 years or older, that they must be legally residing on the Dutch side of the island and that they must have a Gebe contract in their name, “amongst other things” – without clarifying what those other things might be.

The application form does not contain any other requirement. Applicants have to provide their name, data and place of birth, passport or ID-number, contract account number, address and phone number. Then there are two yes/no questions. Are you a resident of the Dutch side of St. Maarten? and, Are you married?

Applicants have to provide copies of their ID, an attestation de vita, a marriage book (if needed) and a recent Gebe invoice.

At the bottom of the form, after the word Qualify are yes/no check boxes.

This newspaper asked Gebe yesterday to clarify the criteria seniors must meet to qualify for the relief program, but the answers did not provide clarity. The number of seniors that apply for the relief program seems to be the only issue at the moment.

“Once we close off the registration period, management will decide what type of relief will be provided,” Gebe stated. “The number of persons that apply will be taken into consideration for the decision about the amount and type of relief we will provide to this group.”


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