More than 15 of the 20 candidates were present at the Department of Public Services, St Clair, Port of Spain, on Wednesday to collect letters of approval to have their homes supplied with electricity.
Speaking at the ceremony, Public Services Minister Marvin Gonzales said $37.8 million had been spent to provide citizens with water and electricity since 2015 under the Utilities Assistance Program (UAP), which includes a Residential Electrician Assistance Program (REAP).
He also said the bill rebate program, which gives a 35% discount to residential customers with bills under $300, applied to 220,000 people and cost $40 million. Gonzales said this year the rebates are expected to increase to $60 million.
Communications Minister Symon de Nobriga added that over the past five years, $19 million has been spent to give 16,000 families access to electricity and water, and among those- here, 1,000 homes were supplied with electricity. He urged citizens to bring their concerns to representatives in the region so that the ministry can provide what is needed.
Two former contestants shared their experiences with REAP and their current lives.
Terrance Seeraj from Carapo said he applied last January and in September his house had electricity. He said, “The Department of Public Services had a big impact on my life,” recalling how quickly the work was done.
for him and his family to be able to move into their home.
Carrolie Mc Clean said after retiring that she had financial difficulties which made it impossible to rewire her home.
Also speaking at the distribution programme, Mc Clean was moved to tears by the efficiency of the ministry and the electricians. She said that after applying and meeting the REAP criteria (applicants must have a monthly income of less than $10,000), her house was remodeled and habitable.