Public Utilities Ministry spends $37.8m on extending water, electricity supply

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales. File photo/Sureash Cholai

Over 15 of 20 applicants were present on Wednesday at the Ministry of Public Utilities, St Clair, Port of Spain, to collect approval letters for their homes to be supplied with electricity.

Speaking at the ceremony, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said $37.8 million had been spent to provide citizens with water and electricity since 2015 through the ministry’s utilities assistance programme (UAP) which includes a residential electrician assistance programme (REAP).

He also said the bill rebate programme, which gives a 35-per-cent cut to residential customers with bills under $300, applied to 220,000 people and cost $40 million. Gonzales said this year the rebates are expected to increase to $60 million.

Minister of Communications Symon de Nobriga added that in the last five year $19 million was spent to give 16,000 families access to electricity and water, and of those, 1,000 homes were supplied with power. He urged citizens to voice any problems they have to area representatives so the ministry can provide what is needed.

Two former applicants shared their experiences with REAP and their lives now.

Terrance Seeraj of Carapo said he applied last January and by September his house had electricity. He said, “The Ministry of Public Utilities has made a great impact on my life,” as he recalled how quickly the work was done
for him and his family to be able to move into their home.

Carrolie Mc Clean said after retiring she had financial difficulties that made rewiring her house impossible.

Also speaking at the distribution programme, Mc Clean was moved to tears by the efficiency of the ministry and the electricians. She said after applying and meeting the criteria of REAP (applicants must have a monthly income of under $10,000) her home was rewired and liveable.