WITH over 8,000 disconnected customers collectively owing more than $291 million, the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) is hoping that a 50 per cent discount on arrears and several fees will encourage them to settle their debt.
The promotion which ends on June 30 will see arrears, the reconnection fee and all penalty and replacement fees being slashed by half. Failure to take advantage of this offer will result in the company taking legal action against them. GWI is also targeting those with illegal connections.
In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Monday, the company’s Executive Director of Commercial Services and Customer Relations, Marlon Daniels, explained that the promotion is a win-win for the consumer and the company, as the company continues to explore amicable means of getting money owed it.
“We feel it is better to have our customers on the database receiving water legally, and contributing positively to our revenue stream rather than having them illegally connected and making it difficult for others to benefit from the service,” Daniels said.
He added: “In this case both GWI and the customer benefit, because you can regularise yourself without the full penalty, and at the same time the utility is benefiting because we now have you back as a customer and you can do your best to contribute to the services we offer.”
Customers who had their water service disconnected have to pay $7500 to be reconnected. Additionally, those who had their services disconnected for over three months would have also had the service entirely removed. The fee to have the service returned is $20,000.
“So if a consumer was disconnected for non-payment, instead now they would pay $3750. In the case of customers who would’ve been disconnected and had the service removed, when you want to come back on the database you would’ve had to pay $20,000 to get back the service; we are now halving that to $10,000,” Daniels explained.
Persons who are caught with illegal connections are subjected to a $35,000 tampering fee; however, that will also be slashed by 50 per cent.
“If you would’ve tampered and we caught you, that’s the fee in addition to whatever you would’ve owed. So for [the] purpose of this promotion if you would’ve illegally reconnected yourself, we are now being lenient and would half that tampering fee also,” Daniel said.
According to company statistics, GWI is currently owed $291, 968, 674 by 8022 consumers who have since had their services disconnected. The largest section of errant consumers hails from the East Coast Demerara areas, where 2825 disconnected consumers collectively owe $83, 064,932.
The Georgetown and Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) areas both have just over 1000 consumers each, owing $47 million and $35 million respectively.
Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) has 639 disconnected customers who collectively owe $41, 850, 314; Region Six (East Corentyne-Berbice) has 855 disconnected consumers owing over $30,789, 750; Region Seven (Cuyuni Mazaruni) has 269 disconnected consumers who owe $21, 225, 791 and the East Bank of Demerara has 655 disconnected consumers owing $17, 768, 202.
Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) has just 37 disconnected consumers who owe $603,420, while Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) has nine disconnected consumers who collectively owe $338, 169.
The promotion follows a five per cent reduction in tariffs implemented by the company earlier this year.