None of the neighbors understood that the electricity collector stated that from next October, “zero cash” would start in our municipality. “We will not charge more in cash, but digitally. This has already started in some municipalities and with you in October.” After what he said, and with expressions of disgust from my neighbors still ringing in my ears, I decided to interview the managers of the Havana Electric Company.
After the start of the banking transformation, and the implementation of Resolution No. 111 of 2023 to gradually reduce the use of cash, but not abolish it, it was not possible to understand such talk about zero cash.
Since the banking and the electricity company’s procedures are simultaneous in time, what the comprehensive reader said seems to contradict what the banking authorities expressed: “There is no zero monetary policy, this was not the intention.”
They may have been resistant to change, but more than supportive, the information provided raised the temperature of the neighbors and few bore its benefits. They saw the following actions as hype for what was something as normal as paying for electricity.
It is unfortunate that the information did not show the greatest degree of comfort and security in citizens’ operations, saving time and efficiency in the movement of their money, reducing costs, and high protection, including personal ones.
The truth is that people are guided by customs and traditions, and the information provided to customers does not seem to take into account the fact that cash has historically been the most used means of payment by the population.
In these times, when the difficulties and disappointments resulting from the deterioration of the national economic scene, as well as the hostility of enemies, are more acute, the explanations for each measure to be applied, even if they seem to lead to exhaustion, must be taken into account. Of very high importance.
Zero cash, that’s our campaign
“This is the name of our campaign: zero cash,” said Mario Castillo Salas, general director of the province’s electricity company, who explained all the measures taken by his entity, the strategy. He said: “In any case, today we are moving away from the slogan a little, so as not to clash with banking.”
“The zero-cash strategy did not originate with banking, but long before that. It is not subject to its standards and leaves the study of how it is made in the world. At one time it coincided with banking, but it has nothing to do with it,” he noted.
“The goal of Zero Cash is to address the problems of more people than the company, and in the long run the customer will appreciate that.
To get to zero cash, we have added payment options or methods: Mobile Transfer, EnZona, Telebanca, ATM, post offices, bank branches, and now we are implementing POS and QR Code in collection offices.
“In 2019, less than 100,000 customers paid via alternative means, and during the Covid-19 crisis we doubled this number; Last year we exceeded 300 thousand and then we told ourselves that the conditions were ripe to eliminate everything that was bad about cash. “Don’t forget, this company collects 700 million pesos every month and that is very risky.”
In August, the trial began in Plaza and Playa, followed a month later by Cerro, Arroyo and Cotoro, areas where by September 15 more than 57% of all customers had paid for their consumption. In October, the remaining municipalities were merged, with the exception of Marianao and Habana Vieja, which will do so in November, at which time collections in the capital will be completely eliminated.
Specifically regarding cases that will not be able to pay through alternative means, Castillo Macias reported that the province has about 35,000 people at risk. “We found that more than 50% of them had paid in rotation at some point.
“We removed those from the list and visited the rest with their municipalities joining the campaign. If they really couldn’t, we brought charges against them, because we made it clear that no one could be left unprotected. We are responsible for the group.”
“But those who have conditions and those who resist, we told them that we do not pay in cash, and that they have to go through an alternative route. We cut off the electricity to some stubborn people, but they immediately went to TransferMovil.