Government In Talks Regarding Prepaid Electricity, Solar-Powered Modems

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Noting the high cost of electricity, the government of Saint Lucia is exploring the possibility of prepaid electricity and solar-powered modems.

The disclosure came on Friday from Joachim Henry, Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment.

Henry was addressing the FLOW ‘Home Communications Relief Bundle’ signing ceremony.

The government said the signing was an important step to bring internet services to the less fortunate.

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They include vulnerable households where school children have no access to a reliable internet connection for remote learning.

However, the Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment noted that the cost of electricity is high, and some people are struggling to pay their bills.

In this regard, Henry announced that the government is speaking with St Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) about prepaid electricity purchases.

“But if you are purchasing electricity on a prepaid approach, would the cost be less? Maybe not. But research in Dominica has shown that persons who purchase electricity on a prepaid approach – the incidence of disconnection is almost zero. As a matter of fact they’re moving from almost ten thousand to 50 percent of the population in Dominica now consuming electricity on a prepaid approach,” Joachim Henry explained.

According to the Castries South East MP, it was obvious that when people decide how much they are willing to spend on electricity, they consume accordingly.

And Henry indicated that the alternative was to discover the electricity consumed upon receiving the bill.

The Minister also said he was happy to announce discussions with telecommunications company FLOW to identify and source solar-powered modems.

“A FLOW bundle, even if it is twenty dollars, but it also powered by solar energy means it is not connected to the grid and even if you are unable to have electricity once your phone has energy you can still be on line,” he told his audience.

“This is the initiative that puts the principle of equity at work. It is this initiative that says whether you live at Cap Estate or live anywhere in Saint Lucia you have access to information instantly and at all times and you can compete on equal footing,” Henry asserted.

Headline photo: Stock image

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Editorial Staff
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Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve read ALL comments on here … got up to “Lucian Highgrade” (who makes sense sometimes, including for this article).

    Unfortunately, our powers that be prefer to PAY “consultants” who never give “on the ground” advice. I am in agreement with ALL those who posted on this article. And again, it is unfortunate that the powers that be do not use “REFERENDUM” – The Voice Of The People!! This is one of the things which keep us backward – they bring nothing to the people.

    Sorry, I do not want to RENT electricity!! In stead, consider utilising solar energy which we have an abundance of to make use of. Get the “consultants” to advise the population, or give some kind of “reward” strategy. Lots of people here use solar water heaters, and no complaints (that I know of) – now THAT is a start. As for solar powered modems for students … @Oh Really I shake your hand.

  2. Most people have a WiFi hotspot in their pockets, its called a mobile phone. Flow/Digicel can allow free data for educational websites without having to additional infrastructure to each home.

  3. Boy I have never hear such nonsense, A solar power kit for around 500$ landed to save 1-3$ in power a month for internet modems when the Internet system in the Saint Lucia is already over complicated and not working properly all the time. It would be way cheaper to get a solar charged battery pack for your mobile phone which has wifi hotspot or portable hotspot.

    Why not subsidize a special lower bandwidth, lower cost internet package for students. What happen to school feeding programs. Special educational programs to help get more children through the school system with some sense in their heads. You want to solve some of the crime issues in the near future why not put some focus to help the current crop of children in Saint Lucia.

  4. OK at lease it is an approach but solar modems don’t required much power as almost all modems work on a 12/24VDC. This is an off the shelf package that is readily available. A small outdoor solar light that is selling by S&S or Fleva and do that work. Work on the area to cut the cost for electricity. We have the abundance of sun and wind why not harvesting that, or is that LUCELEC want to rape the people pocket. Prepaid meter is an ideal solution, like you said people will then be force to consume base on their demand and that is making the people more energy efficient. But on the other hand can the company maintain burning fuel to send power continuously into the grid pending a prepaid system. The telecommunication is taking a blow right now in term of revenue earing with the prepaid service they offer, practically only a fraction of the population is on post paid and can that maintain the network generally .. NO! however tele component are stagnant device once there is no electricity it server no purpose… read between the line and you will understand for the proxy system work to rip into your pocket regardless.

  5. Don’t go down that green energy trap,see what happening to Sri Lanka (wanted to be the first to have every farm go organic so they put a ban on fertilizer,which was later reversed but it was too late) Then Ghana wanting to go green (major blackouts on a daily basis),Tunisia (same green nonsense,massive power outages)…Ppl are already suffering in this country,no need to make it worst to impress these bigger countries so you can receive pocket change once in a blue.

  6. FINALLY!!! A light at the end of the electrical tunnel.

    But instead of St Lucians “renting” electricity like their Dominican counterparts, LUCELEC and the SLU government really should be looking at solar and wind power instead. Make expenses easier on “the people”. Isn’t the SLP slogan: “put the people first”? This is the 21st century!!

    I had to purchase solar/sensor lights to put in my house to curb my electricity bill … I sincerely hope that before I leave this good earth, that SLU will have gone electrically solar/wind. This should have been done over 20 years ago!!

  7. Instead of just subsidizing a special internet package for students you rather low income homes install solar equipment which would normally has a significant cost upfront and would most likely never pay back itself not to mention requires maintenance to stay efficient.

    Solar modems would only benefit during the weekday when students would be at school. Solar devices could become a fire hazard without proper maintenance and knowing the level of service from Flow is not all that then I hope there’s a contingency. And the reason why Dominica uses prepaid electricity is to protect home rental owners from people not paying their electricity bills. Dominica has a high foreign student population so they find prepaid electricity convenient. And prepaid electricity disconnection is automatic, it comes back on as soon as you top up.

    Lesson is to not over complicate and already complicated system.

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