Limits have been placed on the BVI Electricity Corporations’ (BVIEC) three-month amnesty programme to minimise the risk of individuals taking advantage of the initiative.
Domestic consumers can receive amnesty on electricity payments of up to $80 while for small businesses, the amnesty is up to $150.
“Some persons say what is this cap for? Let me explain. You might be in the position where you are approved [for the amnesty]. But that doesn’t mean that you can run your AC (air-conditioner) all day because you are approved and just run and increase the volume of electricity that you normally would consume,” Premier Andrew Fahie explained while speaking on local radio recently.
“So they are going to look at the bill and say, well this is your regular consumption. And given that more persons are home, they will try to equate that and say well this is what we are going to allow because even though they are approved, you don’t want them taking too much advantage over the approval,” he further explained.
If you can afford to pay, pay!
The Premier stressed that the amnesty is only for individuals and businesses that qualify based on how they were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged persons who can afford to pay their electricity bill to do so.
“If you have two persons working for government – government hasn’t laid of anyone yet – and both of you still have your jobs, you’re not out of income as a result of COVID-19. So to apply for that (amnesty) you most likely will not be approved,” he stated.
“There very well may be a situation where the bill is in your name but your spouse and you were helping, and the spouse lost their job and the monies are not flowing as much. That is a unique situation that’s different. Or, both of you lost your jobs or both of you are on half-salary. Those are the kind of situations as a result of COVID-19 that the BVIEC will be looking at” the Premier further explained.
Case by case evaluation to rid of greedy
He also said that the BVIEC will be evaluating each application case by case, adding that government has learnt many lessons in which persons would have abused similar initiatives.
“Too many times the greedy don’t let you get to help the needy, and the persons in need get clogged up because the greedy goes in, they get approved, and then the funding allocated to it is exhausted and when you check the list, those who didn’t need it, got it,” Fahie said.
How to apply for amnesty
Interested persons will have up until June 15 to submit all application forms which can be obtained either online at https://bvielectricity.com/amnesty-programme, or at any of the BVIEC offices in the territory.
Persons opting to submit an electronic application form can do so via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each application must include copies of a valid driver’s license, National Health Insurance card, Social Security card, and an original letter from the employer which outlines the reason for unemployment or reduced working hours.
For small businesses, their application must include copies of their valid trade license and either a good standing certificate from the Inland Revenue Department or from the Social Security Board.
All applicants in the programme must have all their electricity bills paid up to April 2020 to receive the grant.
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