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St. Lucia to introduce prepaid electricity project

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(Trinidad Guardian) St. Lucia is joining at least two other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries in launching a prepaid electricity project in August allowing consumers to “top up” their electricity by telephone.

Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment Minister, Joachim Henry, said that the St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) will launch the pilot project and that “persons will be able to receive electricity in a prepaid mode.

“So you buy your top-up electricity. You can see it on your phone, and then you can manage your electricity,” Henry told reporters following Monday’s Cabinet meeting, adding that the high incidence of electricity disconnections prompted the prepaid initiative.

He said many people were unable to afford the postpaid modality.

“We asked for it. LUCELEC has communicated to me that in August this year there will be a launch of prepaid electricity. If you have never experienced it, it is something to try. I had it when I was in Dominica,” Henry said.

Dominica allows consumers to purchase power for their prepaid meters via telephone at their convenience. The system also operates in other countries, including Jamaica.

Like prepaid telephone service, consumers may buy credit and top-up as required.

In Jamaica, the consumer gets a Customer Interphase Unit resembling a security alarm keypad, which the power company installs in the home.

The unit beeps when only five kilowatt-hours remain. If the consumer cannot top up before the credit expires, they can call the power company for an additional five kilowatt-hours.

Henry said that he had spoken with Dominica’s Health Minister, who was having a Father’s Day activity and “he just gave a guy to top-up his electricity bill – fifty dollars for him to have the activity”.

Henry told reporters now there would be no need to wait on a monthly bill.

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