The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) says it has ramped up efforts to collect outstanding rates. WASA says only 55 per cent of customers are paying their bills which severely constrains the Authority’s efforts to provide a regular and reliable water supply. The following is a press release from WASA:
The Water and Sewerage Authority (the Authority) wishes to underscore its continued commitment to providing the population with a safe and reliable water supply. However, the production, transmission and distribution of potable water comes at a significant cost.
In recognition of the need to improve its operational efficiency and thereby reduce overall costs, the Authority has undertaken a series of initiatives aimed at reducing its overhead expenses. To this end, cost reduction measures have already been implemented with respect to transport, overtime and inventory management. Other areas such as the organizational structure and existing terms and conditions are being reviewed and will be addressed in time.
It is important to note that these actions are also occurring in an environment where current financial constraints and an ongoing pandemic have resulted in reduced subvention from government towards the Authority’s operations. In view of this, the Authority has been negotiating payment terms for outstanding debts to Suppliers, while it moves to ramp up efforts to collect on outstanding rates.
This is all against the backdrop of existing water rates that are amongst the lowest in the hemisphere, having remained unchanged since 1993. In spite of this fact, 45% of the Authority’s over 400,000 customer base are two or more billing cycles in arrears on payments. This means that only 55% of our customers are contributing to their supply of water, which severely constrains the Authority’s efforts to providing regular and reliable water supply.
Unfortunately, non-paying customers are impacting the Authority’s operations and capacity to also service those customers whose rates are paid up-to-date. The Water and Sewerage Act gives the Authority the ability to implement several punitive actions to recover payments including disconnection of service and sale of property, amongst others.
However, unlike other utilities and service providers, the Authority has been measured in the application of these actions, ever mindful of the social and health implications associated with potable water supply. Over time, this situation has accelerated the Authority’s ever-increasing debt burden, which must be addressed sooner rather than later.
As such, consistent with its “Stay Connected Campaign”, the Authority is calling on all its customers with accounts in arrears, to pay all their outstanding bills via any of the following options: Customer Portal https://customerportal.wasa.gov.tt; WASA Service App, available on Apple and Play Stores; Commercial Banks, SurePay, Western Union and the Authority’s Customer Service Centres. Customers who are unable to immediately clear their arrears can contact the Authority via email: [email protected], Web-chat: www.wasa.gov.tt, or WhatsApp: 709-7793 (message only) to discuss available payment options. “Stay Connected”, pay your WASA bill today.