Our Readers' Opinions
December 10, 2004
The Vinlec Fuel Surcharge – Wrong reason again!

I wish to acknowledge Vinlec’s effort to shed some light on the fuel surcharge rate in your December 3rd issue.

The writer was on target earlier in presenting the historical information but lost significant points in my opinion when, “The amount of electricity sold by the company (referred to as sales)…” was identified as one of the factors influencing the present high fuel surcharge rate. {{more}}In a recent article I tried to explain why this particular reasoning should not be used but based on the feedback I received, it wasn’t a particularly clear presentation.

This time I invite the 20,000 plus electricity customers to take a simple “lay-man’s walk” with me to try and understand the serious problems associated with this particular claim.

If it is true, and I have my doubts, it is the same as saying that THE MORE ELECTRICITY THE COUNTRY USES, THE HIGHER THE ELECTRICITY RATE EACH CUSTOMER MAY BE ASKED TO PAY; because the surcharge is actually part of the rate applied to each and every unit of electricity you pay for!

To keep it simple, let’s say in November each customer uses 100 units and then in December they use 105 units each because of extra Christmas activity. Even if nothing else changes, when the bills arrive in January each customer naturally expects to pay a little more because of the extra 5 units they used. Right? If Vinlec’s statement is true, it means that on top of that expected increase, you may be required to pay even more because your extra usage could drive up the fuel surcharge rate. Wouldn’t that be a double penalty?

Surcharge rate should increase

Another example: Donald Trump falls in love with our beautiful mainland and decides to build a 1000 room hotel at Buccament Bay. After his hotel is connected to the system, Vinlec’s sales should go up significantly. Agreed? Again, if Vinlec’s claim is true, then the surcharge rate could increase. What does that mean? It means that each and every customer from Fancy to Chateaubelair could be paying more for electricity because of Mr. Trump’s Hotel.


Isn’t this the same as us selling bananas to England and telling them that if they buy more bananas from us, we will charge them a higher price per pound?

I am not suggesting that Vinlec is cheating its customers because the surcharge calculation, though oversimplified, is designed to recover only the extra cost of fuel. The problem lies in the explanation given by Vinlec, and the simple examples I gave should highlight the inadequacy in the information that has been presented to customers.

The main culprit and the only culprit worth mentioning that is driving the surcharge rate lately is THE HIGH PRICE OF FUEL.

Vinlec has no control over it and the whole world is being affected by it. This should be at the heart of a simple reassuring message to customers showing them that the extra burden is due to an external reality that everyone can only hope will get better soon. No need for long fancy explanations. I hope that everyone gets that message and that some relief comes our way for the new year.

In closing I also encourage everyone to use electricity safely and happy holidays to all.

Francis Pereira

Brooklyn, NY