From left: GEBE IT Department representative Leandro Amarello, board representative Dimar Labega, IT Department representative Cintje Milangelo, Commercial Manager Iris Arrindell, Acting Temporary Manager Sharine Daniel, Aurora InfoTech official Roy Richardson and GEBE Public Relations Officer Paula Gordon.
PHILIPSBURG--Utilities company GEBE will be reopening its doors to physically accept payments as of Monday, June 6, and while consumers will be issued three bills at the same time, payment arrangements can be made and there will be no disconnections until further notice and no late fees will be applied.
Mechanisms will also be put in pace to deal with the expected influx of customers. The company will also be extending its opening hours – opening earlier and closing later – and will be opening on Saturdays for payments only.
The reopening is occurring two months and almost three weeks after GEBE closed on Thursday, March 17, after being attacked by BlackByte Ransomware. Acting Temporary Manager Sharine Daniel, who is occupying the position in the absence of Merrill Temmer, who is on sick leave, said companies attacked by the ransomware usually close for three months and GEBE is not yet at the three-month mark.
Daniel and Commercial Manager Iris Arrindell outlined some of the reopening procedures to reporters at a press conference at the company’s Philipsburg office on Friday.
Arrindell explained that consumers will receive three bills at the same time for March, April and May. “You will come to make payment only if you receive a bill,” she said.
Clients will not be forced to settle all three bills at once. Payment arrangements can be made. Persons who usually receive their bills by email will continue to receive them by email.
Arrindell cautioned persons whose bills go via standing order to take note that three bills will go to the bank for them and advised these customers to make arrangements with their bank concerning payment, as the company does not want all three bills to be deducted at once.
She urged clients who had already received a March bill to disregard the first March bill they had received, as a new March bill will be issued. She made clear that the issuing of bills will be an ongoing process. “We will make sure to notify you when your bill is ready via all media outlets.”
She explained that payments GEBE has already received towards a client’s account will have to be processed. “By the time we open, not all payments will have been processed. We are therefore asking your patience once more as we clear these amounts towards your bills that you have received,” she explained.
“A number of persons had open items with us before our system went down. We are asking you to come and pay these amounts or, when we do clear payments, it will go towards your open items,” she said.
She urged persons who paid by cash between March 1 and March 16 to either email their receipt to GEBE (at
Daniel said GEBE realises that the current situation was an issue on its side and it is aware that concerns exist about billing. As a good corporate citizen, she said the company understands the financial challenges facing residents and reemphasised that there will be no disconnections until further notice and no late fees will be charged. She said instalment plans will be available and GEBE will be revisiting the senior citizen relief programme.
She made clear that the company’s Accounts Receivables have been 100 per cent recovered so the company is aware of what bills have been settled and what are still outstanding. Consumers are urged to pay their bill.
In explaining why GEBE was not accepting cash payments, she said the company had been looking at the pros and cons of accepting cash along with the administrative impact it would have had and it had opted to not promote it and instead accept online and bank payments which are easily traceable and can be automatically allocated.
Arrindell urged persons whose email or phone number has changed to update their information at the company by sending an email to
Persons with queries or comments can contact
Arrindell thanked customers for their patience and understanding through what she referred to as “this very difficult period.”
“We appreciate you, for even though you did not receive a bill you made a concerted effort in paying or placing money on GEBE’s account towards your bills. Some of you even braced lines standing at the banks just to put money on GEBE’s account towards your coming bills. We are very grateful and we appreciate each and every one of you,” Arrindell said.