Jamaica News: As of today (May 6), the National Water Commission (NWC) will be granting a 30 per cent discount on outstanding balances for residential customers more than 90 days in arrears.
This was announced by President of the NWC, Mark Barnett, in a virtual press conference hosted by the utility company on May 6.
The initiative, dubbed ‘The Biggest Wave’, will see the discount being reflected in the utility bills of some NWC customers for the period May 6 to July 31.
“Starting today, May 6, there will be a 30 per cent discount to customers right across the board in both condominium and residential categories for those who owe amounts in excess of 90 days. This significant discount is available to those customers whose debt is more than 90 days,” he disclosed.
Mr. Barnett said an estimated 31,000 customers are being targeted under the initiative, which is one of several being put forward by the utility company to provide support to customers who are experiencing economic challenges at this time.
“We recognise the financial constraints. There is a category of customers – approximately 19,000 – who would normally make payment to the NWC, but would not make payments in full all the time. We understand that there will be even more challenges to these customers during this time when persons are being laid off or losing their jobs,” he noted.
Eligibility criteria stipulate that only legitimate NWC account holders who are 90 days in arrears will be able to benefit from the initiative.
Persons are directed to use the NWC’s iPay payment portal on the company’s website www.nwc.com or to pay their bills at external payment agencies. Persons are also encouraged to utilise the NWC drop box at parish offices. These will be verified on the NWC system to determine those customers who are eligible to benefit from the discount.
Additionally, the NWC President said a waiver on reconnection fees is being offered to these customers.
“It is open to all categories, but conservatively we should see about 31,000 customers immediately taking up this offer. The offer as it relates to the reconnection fee will be about $48 million that will be forgone in reconnection fees,” he disclosed.
Mr. Barnett pointed out that the estimated cost of rebate to customers should be about $1.5 billion.
“I think that is far-reaching support to any category of residential customers who are finding it difficult to pay their water bills. The NWC is also likely to benefit from the same amount, once customers take up the offer,” he said.
“We are not blinded to the challenges of our customers. This is an opportunity to keep our revenue streams flowing while providing well-needed financial support to our customers. There is no extension. The programme is for a fixed period and I am encouraging our customers to take the opportunity to benefit from this programme,” Mr. Barnett urged.
Another measure being implemented by the utility company is the waiving of reconnection fees for customers whose service was disconnected prior to the announcement of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jamaica. The NWC head estimates that these waivers amount to approximately $50 million.
The NWC will also be offering incentives to customers who engage in water conservation practices. Details of this initiative are to be announced at a later date.
Source: JIS News