Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
Protesters in front of RECO offices.

Islanders Forced to Stay Home See their Electric Bills Surge

After two months of forcing people to stay home the first day of “Intelligent Opening” of Bay Islands by Central Government didn’t go well. On May 17 and 18 over a hundred islanders gathered to protest the high electric bills in front of RECO offices. “I’ve seen a lot of receipts that have been extremely high,” says about April RECO bills governor Dino Silvestri.

While Central governed forced all Hondurans to stay home for the past 63 days, some of the unintended consequences were not only fallen income, but also increase in electricity usage in homes full of grownups and children.

Edna Guzman, from Los Fuertes has seen her April issued bill of Lps. 524 go up to Lps. 718 in May. Roatan has one of the highest energy costs in Western Hemisphere and for many low income islanders electric bill takes a big chunk of their monthly budget.

Some of the unintended consequences were not only fallen income, but also increase in electricity usage.

Hot weather, mounting debt and fear of Corona virus has caused confusion and anger over bigger electric bills. “There are these phenomena of increase of energy use during quarantine in Europe and other countries… 25-50 percent more,” said Steven Guillen, a consultant with RECO at a meeting with protesters. After the meeting the National Police used tear gas, second time in island’s history, to disperse the protesters.

Reacting to COVID-19 government imposed lockdown, RECO has decided not to cut off services to customers that have unpaid bills until October 2020 and is not charging interest on these bills. The RECO policy of transferring the unpaid last-months bill has caused confusion amongst some customers.