|Reorganization WEB almost finished|
|Wednesday, 31 October 2012 16:41|
KRALENDIJK — The reorganization of water and energy company WEB nv is going well and is almost finished, director Ger Vogelensang, who is appointed temporarily, said in the program Bon Dia Boneiru.
According to Vogelensang, a healthy company should have cost-effective rates and WEB managed this with the introduction of structure for the water and electricity rates. For the time being the company does not intend to take over Ecopower, said Vogelensang.
Before that, WEB must become a solvent company, but we aren’t shelving a take over, he said. When the company recruited Vogelensang almost six months ago the rates for electricity and drinking water weren’t cost-effective. Furthermore, WEB lost the arbitration from Ecopower. Vogelensang: “We had to pay the actual costs that Ecopower made and we hadn’t done so for a while. In August we said the rates had to go up, they had to become cost-effective. If not, WEB would go bankrupt and that would be the end of the water and electricity supply.”
At that moment the entire discussion on tariff increase flared up. If the overdue debt at Ecopower was to be paid at once the rates would have to increase with more than 100 percent. Thanks to a good cooperation between the company, the Public Body Bonaire and the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) and Infrastructure & Environment (I&M), the rates for the households increased with approximately 15 to 20 percent and for the industrial users between 20 and 30 percent.
“Due to the support from the Netherlands we now have rates that are relatively low. The rates in the region are much higher. In other words, we’re not doing badly on Bonaire with the new rates”, said Vogelensang. Nevertheless, special support remains necessary and this is not always available on an island. For that reason WEB nv signed a collaboration agreement with a large water and electricity company in the Netherlands. “In the future this company will assist us with the special knowledge required on the island against low costs. This company doesn’t not work with consultancy rates”, said Vogelensang.
Vogelensang is content with the results of his efforts to-date. After the restructuring there are three business sections within the company: the production, distribution and ‘Customer’s Relations’. The production section includes drinking water, electricity and wastewater. This is also the case with the section ‘Distribution’. WEB will manage the wastewater purification and the sewerage at the end of next year.
A thing or two still needs to be done with the section ‘Customer’s Relations’. This section is not functioning to complete satisfaction. Currently the work involves too much paper and orders, while customers have to wait too long. This must improve considerably, said Vogelensang.
He further expects that a new general director and a new financial director will be appointed within short. As insisted in exchange for the financial support, the Netherlands will also be seated on the Board of Commissioners of the company. The current director finds it even more important that WEB will also be under the supervision of the Dutch Competition Authority (NMa). He thinks this is a good idea because the NMa sees that the company produces efficiently and evaluates the rates each year.
“When everything is in place, there will be a special team that has a good understanding of the business and evaluates the plans each year. With this not much could go wrong in the future.” Vogelensang returns to the Netherlands mid December.