PUC to regulate water company
November 30, 2002
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At La Bonne Intention, he said, the upgrading of the water treatment plants, the pumping stations and installing new transmission lines along the East Coast Embankment should be complete by next year.
The minister conceded that, “on the lower East Coast, places like Annandale, Happy Acres, Lusignan and Success, residents have been suffering from a low pressure of water supply, but this is due to the collapsing of the Lusignan well a few months ago.” Baksh said his ministry spent over $5M to repair the well but the production has not come up to the expected level. “Therefore those communities are experiencing some hardships, but we are hoping that with the LBI system in place and well managed that there would be some improvement next year.”
He said two projects on the East Bank and in Bartica are being funded by the World Bank and a representative from the financial institution had been in the country recently and expressed satisfaction at the way things were progressing.
The Minister told the media that GWI was hoping to expand its services to the hinterland and it is in that context the government was bringing in a management crew.
He said “at this point in time the GWI is suffering from several weaknesses in several areas, largely because of the lack of requisite managerial and technical expertise.” He said some of the more qualified staff left the utility long before the merger with the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners while some left after and this presented problems at both the central and divisional levels of the corporation. Baksh pointed out that at the divisional level there have been poor responses to consumer complaints, technical issues have arisen and officers have not been able to solve them and communities have expressed their disgust at the utility’s operations.
He said the corporation has since taken measures to change this and as a result it has advertised vacancies for ten engineers who will be put into the divisions to upgrade both the technical management of the system as well as the administrative arrangements in terms of metering, the response to customer complaints, billing and collection of revenues. Baksh noted that this was being done at the central level also since they have had problems with the billing collection systems. “Here in Georgetown we have had tremendous problems, although we have installed a new system.
The managerial capacity is lacking and we have made changes over the last months in the customer department and we have advertised vacancies for two customer service managers.”
He said collected revenues were well below target. “And this is largely because a lot of billings were delayed, but shortly we should complete all of the billings and I am urging all consumers to pay up their bills so that we can more effectively run the corporation.” (Nigel Williams)