‘Either you pay the bill and have lights, or you don’t pay the bill and you don’t’

BERMUDA.  The Royal Gazette took to the streets of Hamilton to ask people what they thought of growing energy bills after it was revealed the cost of electricity rose by 2.8 percent between February and March.

All were upset by the rise, but only a handful intended to try and reduce their energy consumption.

Judith Beach said: “[The price] is very high, but the bills are only going to go up in the summer because of the air conditioning and the heat.”

Asked if she was going to do anything to conserve electricity, she said: “I’m going to go put my clothes out on the line.”

Carmen Burgess said: “From a business perspective, it’s hard to judge [Belco for the rise] unless I see their budget sheet, but as a consumer I don’t think it’s fair.

“My son’s about to come home from university. When he’s home and it’s no longer just me in the house the bill goes up by about $60.

“He told me to get those solar panels. I should have listened.”

Said John Zakszewska: “It is what it is. We don’t have any other option to go to.

“Either you pay the bill and have lights, or you don’t pay the bill and you don’t. Or, you can invest in a solar system which will pay for itself in 30 years.”

Nelleke Hollis said she doesn’t plan on cutting back her electricity usage because such changes don’t seem to make a difference.

“The amount you pay and the amount you use doesn’t seem to correlate,” she said. “I would go away and not use electricity for a month, but come back to a huge bill.”

Others said that they have been trying to conserve.

“[The electricity bill] is a big investment every month,” said Vernon Trott. “It’s not fair, but we need lights; we need electricity particularly in summer.

Harley Seymour said: “You’ve got to keep all your lights off and leave just your fridge running. The fridge is the only thing I leave running, but I don’t watch much TV.”

Milton Hill said that he had shut off the power meter to his home when not using it to help limit his expenditure, only to be told by Belco he was not allowed to do so.

“It’s ridiculous. When I drive to work in the morning, I don’t leave my car running all day,” he said.

Clinisha Hayward said she was annoyed by the cost of electricity and that Belco doesn’t allow customers to pay bills with a credit card.

“People don’t always have enough money on them but they are willing to pay,” she said. “If they are increasing rates, they need to help us out some.”

A man, who asked not to be identified, said: “It’s not good, but there’s nothing we can do about it. [Belco] needs competition.”

Not everyone however is feeling the economic weight of rising power bills.

By Owain Johnston-Barnes

Published May 13, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated May 13, 2013 at 8:38 am)