Water bills rise
Stabroek News
March 21, 2003

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Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) yesterday announ-ced tariff increases retroactive to January 1, in order to ensure that the company meets its operating and maintenance costs for the year.

Citing expenditures, in-cluding electricity costs, which represent more than half of the GWI’s total expenses, the company’s Managing Director Derek Hodson yesterday made the announcement at a press conference held at the company’s head office.

As a result, Hodson told reporters, consumers in Georgetown would now have to pay an extra $350 per month, while those being served in areas outside of the city would have to pay an added $200. And those households which are provided with sewerage services will also have to pay an extra $100.

Bills will be issued next week and will include full descriptions of the tariff structures based on the new charges which Hodson said should have been implemented since the beginning of the year.

According to a GWI press statement, of the company’s current operational costs, more than half of the monthly revenues go towards electricity charges to produce and distribute water to the population, while the remaining revenue offsets expenses for purchasing chemicals, labour, maintenance and other associated expenses.

“We have given serious consideration to these factors, we have looked also at our own other areas of expenditure and we have done everything we can to contain those expenditures with a view to minimising the impact on charges, as much as we can,” Hodson said.

The GWI statement added that every effort was being made to reduce costs through an intensive Energy Management programme and similar savings were being sought on other expenditure items.

Hodson also added that the company had entered into discussions with the government in order to arrive at an equitable solution to determine the appropriate increases which would be reflective of its expenditures. These discussions, he further explained, were aimed at containing the increases as much as possible and included looking at areas where government could assist in financing, particularly in new projects.

Hodson also said that GWI was engaged in an intensive programme to improve its billing arrangements.

He said that the company’s revenue collections have not been very good, primarily because of a reluctance to pay on the part of customers, and inaccuracies in billing, which give rise to the former situation.

He said the new programme comprised two components, those being the procurement and installation of a new billing system and a programme to ensure the accuracy of information relating to customer accounts. Hodson said the billing programme was ongoing and customers should be advised that they might receive visits from GWI personnel who would be surveying some areas.

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