Substantial subsidy for drinking water rates

Kralendijk, 1st March 2018 – As of 1 April, a new rate system will apply for drinking water and electricity on Bonaire. The new rates for drinking water are now known. To reduce the negative impact through this change the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) and the Water and Energy Company Bonaire N.V. (WEB) have achieved that, in 2018, there will be a discount of 85% on the fixed consumption rate for almost all consumers. In addition, intensive consumers will experience an advantage because the current progressive variable rate will disappear and all consumers will pay the same price per unit of m3 purchased.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has set the new maximum rates for electricity and drinking water on Bonaire as of 1 April 2018. These are based on a new rate system, according to the BES Electricity and Drinking Water Act, that entered into force on 1 July 2016. A new rate system has been introduced with a fixed usage rate, a variable usage rate, a connection rate and a re-connection rate (after being disconnected) that Water and Energy Company Bonaire N.V. (WEB) will charge to the consumer, as of 1 April 2018, to cover the costs of the production and supply of electricity and drinking water.

Under the BES Electricity and Drinking Water Act, the ACM has the task of establishing break-even rates. The ACM has, among other things, calculated what it costs the WEB to produce drinking water and, finally, calculates what it costs the WEB to supply drinking water to the consumer.

Main differences
In the current rate system, the costs for the network and consumption are, for the most part, linked to the use of drinking water. Consumers currently pay an amount per m3, which includes the network costs and the consumption costs. In the new system that starts on 1 April 2018, these costs are separated. The costs that the WEB incurs for the network and for the delivery of the drinking water to the customers are included in the fixed usage rate. For this fixed usage rate, the size of the connecting capacity of a consumer determines the level of the rate.

The costs that the WEB incurs for the production of the drinking water are included in the variable usage rate. That variable usage rate is the same for every customer: everyone pays the same rate per cubic meter of drinking water.

In March 2018, the WEB’s customers will receive information about the connection capacity of the water and electricity connections.

For customers who receive drinking water by truck, the fixed fee is factored in with the variable usage rate to one variable (m3) rate. A significant discount per m3 has also been achieved for water trucks, namely 75%.

Consumer protection and financially sound business
The reason for the introduction of this new rate system is that the ACM must independently calculate the costs that are necessary for a financially sound company. This is in the interest of Bonaire, because that way the WEB has enough income to maintain the network, to make investments in the network and to buy electricity and drinking water or to produce it themselves. On the other hand, the setting of maximum rates by the ACM also ensures that the WEB no longer may charge the consumer more than those maximum (break-even) rates. The ACM rates, therefore, protect both the consumer and the WEB.

Taking into account the affordability of electricity and drinking water for both small households and the business market, I&W, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZK), Public Authority Bonaire (OLB) and the WEB are working together to limit the negative effects of the new fee structure for the population.

As described above, I&W has, meanwhile, responded in a positive way to the submitted grant application by the WEB for drinking water. The WEB is aware that the effects of the new fee structure will not be fully compensated in all individual cases. Nevertheless, the WEB believes that a very good result has been achieved. The rates for drinking water — taking the subsidy into account — have now been determined and can be found at

Because the results of the grant application by the WEB for electricity are not known at EZK at this time, the rates for electricity that will apply from 1 April 2018 cannot yet be determined and published. The WEB is aware of that customer’s desire clarity and is doing its best to have a determination and publication in the shortest possible period of time.

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