Negocios

Graos Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf//
GWI working to rectify water issues in Berbice 

Luis Alfredo Farache, Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf
GWI working to rectify water issues in Berbice 

THE Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) Region Six Manager, Randolph Leitch, is appealing to residents to conserve and store water as the company is experiencing technical issues, resulting in intermittent water supply.

Luis Alfredo Farache

Speaking at a press briefing at the Chesney Office on Saturday, Leitch pointed out that the company is still facing low voltage and this is causing trouble for customers in areas of Fyrish to Bush Lot, on the Corentyne Coast. He further noted that the Port Mourant and New Amsterdam water treatment plants are still affected, and that there is no definite timeline when the issue will be resolved since the matter is beyond their control.

Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf

The utility company manager explained that the low voltage has cost the company millions of dollars in losses due to damage of equipment. “For the week, we burn four motors and if that continue, it means we will continue to burn more motors which cost in the region of $3-4M for large motors or $2M for smaller ones,” he said

In a bid to continue to service their customers, the company has resorted to the use of generators and has been able to subsidise other nearby stations. “Shutdown usually happens at peak time (15:00-16:30hrs). Right now we have a generator at Number 57, we have the generators at the two plants and at the Queenstown plant. At the pump stations, we are working on sending water from other pump stations into different areas because basically all the pump stations are linked. Port Mourant water treatment and New Amsterdam are still affected. I cannot give a timeframe as to when the power problem will be resolved, but in the meantime we are trying our utmost to ensure the stations are functioning so that residents can receive water,” he said

CONSERVE WATER  

Revenue Manager Loiden Henry has urged residents to be cognisant of the situation and put measures in place. “Please try to conserve water, and whenever the pumps are running try to put measures in place to store water for later use when the pumps may be off. I know it will cause some level of discomfort but we need to recognise that due to the issues, we haven’t been getting a regular supply so we have to save and store until this issue is fixed, which hopefully is really soon,” the revenue manager said

Meanwhile, in addressing the issues and protests over the rate increases which he said seems to be politically-motivated, Henry reiterated that the company sought and was granted permission to do so from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). There were not changes in rates since 2005. “It is public information our rates have not been raised since 2005, so in 2018, GWI approached the PUC, which is the body that governs the increase in tariffs and a new tariff implementation was released. That implementation was to be done in two phases. The first phase was on October 1, 2018, and the second phase will follow in October 2019. For persons who were asking why we didn’t wait for the New Year to implement it, the PUC is responsible, as it relates to an increase in charges, so they would have given the permission to implement from October 2018,” Henry said

He went on to explain that with the changes in the billing system which moved from annual, to semi-annual, to quarterly and eventually monthly, many customers showed up late and incurred interest charges on their bills

Only approximately 50 per cent of customers pay their bill on time. He further clarified, that pensioners who are not charged the same are regular customers, and efforts are being made to do house-to-house verification to include those who may have recently reached the age

“Unmetered pensioners had a fixed fee of $740 monthly and that is now $740 plus $250, while metered pensioners are charged $86 per cubic metre after they would have consumed more than 10 cubic metre in a month,” the revenue manager noted