GEBE in ‘final stages of reopening,’ says disconnections halted until further notice

GEBE in ‘final stages of reopening,’ says  disconnections halted until further notice

PHILIPSBURG--Utilities company GEBE has announced that it is in the “final planning stage” of reopening its doors to the public, but the company did not specify when it plans to reopen.

  Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said almost three weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 6, that GEBE had been advised during a meeting with the company and ministers to reopen its doors as soon as possible.

  “That is one of the areas that we felt that we should have had a contingency plan to be able to still receive the payments as they are aware that on the technical side there were no infiltrations. … It will take a lot of handwork, but at the end of the day, persons should be able to know what their bills are,” Jacobs had said during the live Council of Ministers press briefing at the time.

  GEBE closed its doors temporarily on March 17 due to a cyberattack caused by the BlackByte ransomware, which impacted the company’s computer systems. The company said that with the investigation ongoing, it is not at liberty to provide any direct details on the situation, but promised to do so “at a later date.” 

  Interim Managing Director Merrill Temmer said GEBE is ensuring that all precautionary measures are taken in accordance with the conditions and recommendations of the investigation.

  “We will continue to prioritise the safety and security of NV GEBE as a whole and have been very thoughtful about the reopening process we will be implementing. We know that the community is eager to make payments on their accounts. However, all precautions must be taken to create a safe and secure environment for us all. The steps are in place and we are near ready and excited to welcome back our customers,” Temmer said.

  “NV GEBE recognises the concerns of the public regarding bill payments and disconnections due to the company being closed,” it was stated in a press release. “We would hereby like to reassure the public that disconnections have been halted until further notice.

  “While the offices are still closed, we encourage our customers who wish to keep their account up to date to do so by use of online banking to make payment or use direct deposit at their banks. When making payments via online banking or direct deposit, please ensure that your contract account number is included in the transaction so payment can be applied to the correct account holder.

  “Once our system is up and running again, we will verify your payment (s) and you will receive your receipt(s) via email as is customary. NV GEBE is requesting the public to refrain from using the drop box as we are unable to process cheque payments.”

Temporary operations

  GEBE says that until it has reopened its doors, customers who want to close their accounts can go to its office in Philipsburg with a copy of a bill, ID and letter requesting termination of account.

  Customers who are moving from one location to another can go to GEBE’s office in Philipsburg, fill in an application form and bring along an old bill.

  Customers requesting a new connection can go in to GEBE’s office in Philipsburg, and fill out the application form.

  Customers who would like to make an instalment plan can go to GEBE’s customer service office in Philipsburg, bring along ID and old bill.

Payments

  Customers who had been disconnected prior to March 17 can make payment online. The customer must state his or her name on the bill or the contract account number. Proof of payment can be sent to GEBE’s WhatsApp number +1-721-588-3117 or go to GEBE’s live chat and send proof of payment and the client will be reconnected.

  If a customer would like to make payment for a bill or a payment of their estimated monthly amount, they can also go online and make payment, or use direct deposit at their bank.

  Help Desk and Customer Care can be reached at tel. +1(721)546-1100/546-1160 or via WhatsApp message or direct call at +1(721)588-3117 with regard to the services mentioned above.

  The company thanked customers for their “patience and understanding” and assured that “we are doing our best and working expeditiously to restore normalcy to the company.”

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