Kim Swan on BELCO Cutting 1000 Homes

April 2, 2011

[Updated] [Written by Kim.Swan, Leader of the Opposition]

Reports that Belco has had to cut over a 1000 homes was no April Fool joke; unfortunately it is the most painful reality in modern day Bermuda. An extremely difficult condition that reflects the economic, social and psychological turmoil thousands of Bermudians are today facing.

It is hurtful that a country which once hailed itself as the third riches per capita in the world finds itself engulfed in the grips of a recession made worst by government wastefulness and financial mismanagement.

But the biggest victims are far to many Bermudian people raised on a materialistic spend driven mindset who are now trying to cope in the midst of an economic famine.

Truth is:

  • Prepared people can withstand tough times
  • Spiritually and mentally prepared people can make the most out of tough times
  • Resilient people can sustain themselves tough times

Unfortunately, far to many of our Bermudian people are lacking in all of these categories.

Now, that we are seeing the evidence of our unprepared state we must make the best from where we are now !!

These attributes are taught and the ingredients and the recipe for becoming so, must be passed on to our people.

It is important for we as a people and a government to evaluate our current state and learn from the many mistakes that we have made which contribute to station we are in; but more importantly we must also pledge to go forward in a more productive way that allows us to be better prepared going forward for the next disaster we may encounter (be it financial or otherwise).

Whist we are faced with these challenges we can take the opportunity to recognise our weaknesses, improve upon them and retool ourselves and our children to build stronger families, better communities and eventually a stronger nation.

We must teach our children to place greater reliance on values rather then placing their faith in the value of a dollar.

We must teach them to save and invest wisely and prepare for the future.

We must show them how to be kind to their fellow man, care for animals and respect the value of the land, air and sea.

When we as people truly understand the lessons of these challenging times and see them as an opportunity to redirect ourselves and our families; by doing so, we as a people will truly profit from this most traumatic period in our modern history.

Update April 3: Part #2 by Mr Swan, “Pay as you go energy is an option ”

The saddest element of the 1000 homes disconnected by BELCO is that there are experiences of people connected with each of the 1000 homes disconnected (children, seniors, single mothers, families all).

I am aware that BELCO have been working with customers but they are a profit orientated company and to their credit they do a great deal in the community.

The scary thing for Bermuda is that, not only is the number of household disconnected alarmingly high for our country, but we can reasonably speculate that there could be an equally as large or possibly even greater number of people living on the verge of that same disastrous outcome.

Reality is that there are too many Bermudians families out there with more bills than money to pay them; that is an all to common complaint up and down this tiny country. And it speaks to the social challenges mentioned in my earlier article.

The question is rightfully asked, what is the solution ?

One solution worth considering is currently being used in the UK by British Gas who have introduced “Pay as You Go Energy” also referred to as pre-paid.

On their website:

It states that: ” if you want to keep an eye on your energy usage and closer control over what you pay, this is ideal. You pay for your energy as you use it, so there are no surprises with bills.”

Many of us Bermudians, who were born prior to 1960, would remember the coin meters that some household had back then. However, with computerisation and credit cards, 21st century pay as you go energy or prepaid is a far simpler exercise.

In my opinion, such a program by BELCO for Bermuda would especially help persons living from hand to mouth, to better cope with escalating cost of living and rising energy cost. In addition, from a sociological standpoint it may also work to help shift the mindset of our people by encouraging Bermudians to prioritize our spending habits on needs first.

In addition, the British Gas website also list, as key points about the tariffs the following about Prepaid:

• It will help you take control of your energy cost, by only paying for what you use as you use it
• It comes with a special Pay-as-you-go meter, which we install for you free
•if you have a previous British Gas bill, which you haven’t managed to pay yet, Pay-as-you-go can help ”

This system which is in use several countries including Britain and parts of the United States; is certainly one worth looking into when considering the huge numbers of person struggling in Bermuda.

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Comments (55)

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  1. hey says:

    wow that is your solution?

  2. Rockfish#2 says:

    Spare a thought for our seniors who were promised better treatment prior to the election. Their pensions were not increased this year, despite many of them having to choose between food and medicine. To add insult to injury the cost of HIP and FUTURE CARE has taken a huge jump. Children who normally help their senior parents can no longer afford to do so.
    Our elite disconnected politicians continue to ignore these people (many of whom are related to them) simply because they are not really affected by the downturn in the economy. Many have free transport, charge cards etc. on top of an obscene salary, which most do not deserve. Additionally they are eligible for a very generous pension. Cox has made it clear that she will not lead by example!
    It is painful for many of us to listen to our seniors trying to decide how they will manage from week to week.

    • Hmmmmm says:

      Are you for real? an increase in pensions every year for 8 years and one year of no increase and you cry bloody murder ? That is irresponsible and ignorant. Compare the benefits of HIP and Futurecare to any private plan and any plan in the US and every actuary will tell you that it is a steal. Stop spouting this idiocy lest people believe you.

      • Preto Plato says:

        Thank you for pointing out the facts. This person is cluesless to the fact that.

        1) Future care costs 1/2 of what the equivalent care in the private sector is
        2) Seniors have gotten the best deal from the PLP governement ever (probably too good!)
        3) The #1 recipient of financial assistance are seniors.

        Same drivel from the political class, but all false.

        • W.T.F.??? says:

          Preto Plato,
          did you miss out the L in your nic??

          as in P L P.

          you are not fooling anyone with that nic

        • Rockfish#2 says:

          @ Hmmmmm and Preto Plato,
          Not surprisingly you are very defensive, which speaks volumes.
          No one disputes the fact that seniors have received a few benefits. However,I suggest you re read the PLP pre election manifesto which clearly led seniors to believe they would benefit as a result of their contribution to the present day Bermuda. On that basis, many voted for the PLP, who rather than keep the promises, chose to waste (nuf said) untold millions of dollars. To suggest seniors received a “probably too good” deal is shocking and insensitive.
          Despite what you believe, a large number are living from week to week on a rapidly decreasing income. I suggest you walk around a few poor areas in Bermuda (assuming you know of any) knock on some doors and allow yourselves to face reality.

          • Hmmmmm says:

            Pointing out the facts is not defensive.You and Mrs. Jackson seem to think that seniors’ issues are the third rail of politics and that they need only grunt and they shall receive. that is dead wrong and unsustainable. Saying they perhaps received too good of a deal is not insensitive it is factual. Its the same thing Maynard Dill said about unionized workers…..too focused on money in the good years so that now there’s nothing left. the well shouldn’t have to run dry to have order in what amounts to handouts. Lastly, don’t give me this “go knock on doors and face reality” nonsense. The reality you speak of I face every day with a senior who has been appalled each year with the pension increases she has received from her Government because she worked all her life for these years and taught her family to be responsible for each other and so we manage her care because she is not the Government’s responsibility she is ours. The only thing she finds more outrageous is people like you who speak of these things like pensions and future care as if they were entitlements.If you want a welfare state then say so but don’t be so ignorant as to suggest that the shrinking population under 60 should be working for nothing else but to support the growing numbers over 65 without encouraging some sense of personal responsibility. That’s precisely the attitude that is seeing problems solved by bullets.

            • Rockfish#2 says:

              Clearly a nerve has been struck! I suggest you share your views with Mr.Ottiwell Simmons also, after all he would not be advocating a rethink if he didn’t believe in it. Furthermore, he certainly is in a better position than most to speak on this subject.

              • LOL (original) says:

                Hmmmmmmmmmm and PP (LOL) are forgetting that the largest voting block right now is the aged / retired block hence all the promises to them. The fact remains in EB’s words yes don’t care how much it will cost we will do it. So said only partially done and now it seems to me that it’s being undone. Kinda like the free public transportation. It was explained to me by a plper that they knew these promises where not going to be for filled they were said to fool the unsure voters. PLP out UBPed the UBP that is all.

  3. Terry says:

    Well it sure as hell beats anything you have said “hey says”. Oh thats right. You haven’t even offered a pea.

    And you wonder why we are where we are.

    • Terry says:

      Stoopid me. I forgot it is the weekend and everyone is out and about and not behind their desk. I’ll never learn………

  4. W.T.F.??? says:

    Rockfish#2 said

    “Our elite disconnected politicians continue to ignore these people (many of whom are related to them) simply because they are not really affected by the downturn in the economy. Many have free transport, charge cards etc. on top of an obscene salary, which most do not deserve. Additionally they are eligible for a very generous pension. Cox has made it clear that she will not lead by example!”

    but your use of the word ‘elite’ leaves a nasty taste in my mouth!

    ugh!!! I need to throw up…

    • Rockfish#2 says:

      @ W.T.F.???
      My use of the word “elite” is somewhat tongue in cheek. However, many of them act as though they are.

    • PEPPER says:

      I think Dame Jennifer is in charge ,and Paula is yet another cog in the wheel…

      • powerman says:

        I think you mean spoke in the wheel or cog in the machine!

        • HOW Weird? says:

          No thats what Paula said when Ewart was in power…. and she was the finance minister.. clearly not doing her job

    • Preto Plato says:

      Please tell me how “these people” have been ignored, and please tell me what you think is a BETTER way of assisting than what we have now…

      Of course, please say how you’ll pay for it!

      • Jim Garlic says:

        Listen Plato there is 1 billion dollars that have been spent…On WHAT may I ask? BEYONCE ..QUINCY effin JONES…We’ve already paid hand over fist for these services..Question is WHERES THE MONEY…..YOU TELL ME BEING YOU HAVE ALL THE ANSWERSS..Hmmmmmmmm

      • LOL (original) says:

        At the point of the promise EB and the PLP did not care how they were going to pay for it remember. Short memories indeed.


  5. Mad Prophet says:

    To late for the advice Mr Swan.

    The horse has left the barn and died.

    You need a new horse to flog!


  6. Echo of a Yout says:

    I am sorry. BUT throwing stones is not going to help the current situation.
    Is this Kim Swan’s *if you will* solution(s)??? (what a JOKE)
    What makes Kim Swan think his gov;t tactics on the recession are any better than the currents gov;t. Obviously the success of this country is shaped by something much powerful than PLP. The gov;t is only here to stimulate the market economics 101.
    NEW WORLD ORDER (yes, maybe)

    “recession made worst by government wastefulness and financial mismanagement” HA
    -was this statement necessary

    Gov’ts across the world are imposing policies that will make or break their countries. Swan’s solutions only fit a particular group, far to vague & generalized.
    I cannot take this guy seriously. BUT I do agree with his ideology to teach them while they are young. *thumbs up MR. Swan* My hero continue to save Bermuda.

  7. Cinderella says:

    What about having a BELCO “debit card”…. when you have used up your budget’s worth, lights out. That way, you can figure out what stays on and what gets turned off when it should. Whoever in the family wants to use more energy has to put their money on the card.

    • LOL (original) says:

      We are forgetting about that ever changing fuel adjustment WTF. That’s why I think this solution is short it does not consider that.

      LOL at least my critique here is constructive others seem to have their motives hmmmmmmm.

  8. Jim Garlic says:

    Licks is Trumps; I hear tell the street lights be on a rolling blackout very soon cause maybe the Govment can’t ‘ford to pay Belco eeda.

    • sss says:


      • Jim Garlic says:

        Can’t beat BELCO so might as well join them by buying shares and getting rebates…I kinda mimic this current and for that matter the former Gov’t administration by driving if not blindfolded then with my blinkers on,so I took no notice of the absence of street lightin

      • Confused says:

        Before you shoot off at the mouth – have you ever asked Belco or Govt what’s going on with the streetlights? Or reported that an area is out?
        #1 – Belco only repairs and installs streetlights – the fixtures, bulbs, and other equipment is provided by Govt
        #2 the last batch of materials supplied were faulty – therefore some of the new streetlights are not working correctly even after being maintained
        #3 there is currently a shortage of materials on island
        #4 every time there is high winds streetlights will be a casualty
        #5 if trees are an issue on public roads – govt has to assist
        #6 this is a very sensitive topic all around – so why don’t you call someone to find out exactly what’s going on before running your mouth!

  9. Andrew says:

    I’ve read this article three times and once I got over the grammar issues, I still couldn’t find the point. Not much substance there.

    • W.T.F.??? says:

      I guess you must be lucky and have a job and money but no brains!!

    • hey says:

      my thoughts exactly, he is just rambling on. I’m angry, Mr. Swan owes me 4 minutes of my life back for reading that trite.

  10. Cleancut says:

    Belco have been turning thousands of peoples off for years, and years. This is Their time now in this climate to CRY WOLFF!

  11. Makes sense! says:

    The cell phone companys own everyone kids parents everyone got one but nobody got money even the bums on the street got a cell phone everyone got money to talk and tex nonsence
    Cellphone rich but cash poor as long as u got a blackberry everything seems cool ???????
    Go figure $100 plan a month adds up to a tidy sum

    • W.T.F.??? says:

      it will never happen to me!
      I arrive late,

      I make phone calls all day.
      I eat where I like.
      I’m rude to my employers clients.
      I look like crap everyday.
      I use my employers pc for facebook.
      I put people on hold and never check back on them.
      I take 2 hour lunch breaks.
      go off sick whenever I want…

      I’m Bermudian and I can do what I like!!

      • LOL (original) says:

        That is uncalled for WTF if your a Bermudian you are naming yourself in your statement if not you really only know of some Bermudian’s so STFU as I know some foreigner’s who are the same as your description so get over yourself.


  12. W.T.F.??? says:

    we wont fire you…oh no! we are too savvy for that…
    we simply tell you your position is now redundant..

    HAVE A Bermudaful DAY!!

    • Rockfish#2 says:

      You seem well versed in the Bermudian (some) attitude to jobs! Unfortunately, even the downturn in the economy wont change it.

      I feel for many seniors though, who for the most part are facing a bleak future with no employment prospects and mounting expenses.
      I hope Mr Ottiwell Simmons can convince his former colleagues in the House to rethink their position on the massive increase in HIP and FUTURE CARE costs.

  13. Kim Swan says:

    The feedback constructive feedback is greatly appreciated, especially the ones calling for solutions.

    One solution worth considering is currently being used in the UK by British Gas who have introduced “Pay-as-You Go Energy” also referred to as pre-paid.

    On their website:

    It states that: ” if you want to keep an eye on your energy usage and closer control over what you pay, this is ideal. You pay for your energy as you use it, so there are no surprises with bills.”


    • Rockfish#2 says:

      @Mr Swan,
      The cost of utilities is of course alarming,but can be controlled, to a degree.
      However, my senior relatives/neighbours and others are most concerned about the cost of health care.

      Perhaps you and Mr.Ottiwell Simmons can have a meeting of the minds and use your collective powers of persuasion to get others to leave the costs as is.

    • Smart Meter says:

      There are electric meters available that can show a customer their real-time electricity consumption instead of waiting for a bill at the end of the month that you can’t even understand. BELCo can improve on this however it will come at a cost to them in the form of implementation and reduced electricity sales. They are not a charity and have a right to disconnect customers. Maybe its the customers affected that need to realize that electricity is more a privilege than a right and you can’t have three 42″ flat screens in your home without paying to run them.

      As long as my lights are still on.

  14. HOW Weird? says:

    It’s weird how before the PLP went into Government Bermuda had money in the bank…. and now almost a decade later… we’re billions in debt… does this begin to get though some thick Bermudian skulls? CLEARLY THEY AREN’T DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE COUNTRY!

    • Jim Garlic says:

      They should all be court marshalled and charged with gross mismanagement of the peoples money..Whats Weird is that We are content to watch this nonsense and act as if we are far removed form a very serious state of affairs

  15. Triangle Drifter says:

    I feel for those genuinely stressed, the elderly on a fixed income, the single parent with a deadbeat parent not paying for children, the victim of a job loss due to incompetent government over the past two terms.

    I do not feel sorry for the person with confused priorities. The person who puts partying, car payments, travel & the latest cellphone with all options in service before BELCO, food & rent. If BELCO turned the power off or you are facing eviction, look in the mirror & blame yourself.

  16. Confused says:

    I expected some type of response – however as the original article stated majority of the majority of the people turned off are repeat offenders. And the economic times is no excuse for them not prioritizing paying what’s important. BELCO has had a payment plan in place for well over a year now – especially since they finally shortened the time you can fall in arrears. 45 days notice isn’t a bad thing – and if you can’t pay then common sense should tell you to make that call to go on a payment plan. I don’t get it – how can someone prioritize going away or paying for their cable bill – and yet they can’t pay for an essential service. People need to get financial counseling on how to pay for items that are a necessity and not what’s a want. Its too much of that going on in Bda today. Belco should not change their business practices for peoples ignorance- everything costs $$ – or is the Govt/UBP party willing to pay for that?

  17. boston baked bean says:

    Pitiful commentary from Mr. Swan. Does anyone proofread these articles before they’re published – I was getting distracted by the number of misspellings and grammatical errors. Is this the best we can expect ???

    • LOL (original) says:

      Who wrote the article and who is the editor is what you should be asking. No disrespect to Bernews but unless Kim Swan has the ability to post the articles him self I do not see how you can blame him. So is your response the best I and the other readers can expect from pro government supporters or is this your daily spiner’s quota.


  18. Can you handle this says:

    I read the article more than once and no where in the article did it say those that have lost power had taken trips, partied, lost power etc..has it occured to you that they just might have fallen on hard times regardless of how many flat screen TV’s that they have in their homes,,,what I got out of the article is that people are suffering..We are so quick to judge and just assume the worse..I don’t know how you all live but I believe in giving people a “hand up” as most are looking for just that and not a “hand out”.. At my school we take note of the struggling families and as we are a family we do what we can to help out..just the other day we assisted a family.. As the child was not coming to school we went to check on him and lo and behold no lights, no running water,etc. What did we do as a family..a co-worker took the child to her house along with the laundry…we than rallied around and came up with ideas on how to assist the family and get their Belco account back in credit..they don’t have a car, there was only one television in the house and they hadn’t been away on vacation..the mother was just laid off from the hotel….So instead of criticising go knock on your neighbours door, see if they are okay..if you know they are not working invite them over for a cup of tea and sandwhiches..every bit helps..this is not a time where we should be putting each other down,,this is a time when we should offer love, help and support to those around us who are less fortunate..some people yes they can be irresponsible when it comes to finances than on the other hand there are those that legitametly don’t have the money…there is a long road to recovery for Bermudians and when you least expect it, it could be you in the same situation..don’t ever say never, just because you have the means to pay now doesn’t mean that you will have the means 6 months from now…and it might just be you that has to “rob Peter to pay Paul!”

    • Cinderella says:

      I applaud you and your co-workers who are really dealing with the truth. Please continue to help these who are truly disadvantaged among us. We must also humble ourselves because what goes around comes around – good and bad. I am sure that family is grateful for your interventions. I hope that they will be resourceful and figure out what other skill sets that they have that could be used for acquiring income immediately. Even the children can help neighbours with odd jobs. You would be surprised at how a small family can be fed healthily with some creative and ancient adjustments to their lifestyle and environment.

    • LOL (original) says:

      I too applaud this effort this is what it means to be neighbors you and your co workers are a credit our country. See that Politians this is the kind of stuff that make you relevant.

      LOL will any of them listen.

  19. W.T.F.??? says:

    this prepaid idea makes sense to me
    Belco should take it up

  20. Kim Swan says:

    Thank you for sharing the caring efforts at your school. That is the Bermuda spirit we must return to by making it the norm in our country again – and we can.

    The “Pay-as-you-go” is a real solution which works in many other countries (UK,USA,Canada,Australia and others); it makes living more affordable and manageable for the lower and medium income persons and their families.

    What is wrong with this option for Bermuda and for our people ?

    I appreciate the criticism as I do benefit from it : )


    • LOL (original) says:

      How do you take into account the fuel adjustment that seems out of control? Your response is appreciated.


  21. Concerned Bermudian (original) says:

    Before you can use ‘pay as you go’ you’ll have to ‘pay what you owe’ to get lackalight turned back on.

    • W.T.F.??? says:

      Concerned Bermudian (original)
      IF you had read the info correctly you would have seen that pay as you go could allow for any outstanding payments and one could pay off as you go…then go back to a normal tariff.

  22. Have some sense says:

    100% behind prepay!!!!!!! It would help a LOT of people facing hard times right now.

    Come on, BELCO — remember these are people, NOT just accounts in a ledger!

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