Guyana Water Incorporated

Why Disconnection

Questions and Answers:

Q. Why is GWI taking disconnection measures to recover arrears?

A. GWI was owed in excess of $5 billion at the end of December 2007 by customers, some of whom have not paid their bills for several years. Added to this are the bills that are now due. This situation cannot be allowed to continue because the Company is unable to pay its main supplier, GPL.

Q. How much does water cost for domestic un-metered households?

A. The majority of domestic customers in the country have un-metered supplies. Most of these are asked to pay only $8,160 per year, which is the equivalent of $22 per day. Customers in the Georgetown area have historically paid more than this and some who live in high rateable value houses pay $19,200 per year, which is still only $53 per day. A bottle of coca-cola costs about $160.

Q. How much does water cost for domestic metered households?

A. The majority of customers will eventually have a meter and pay for what they use. Current metered customers outside Georgetown are asked to pay $58 for cubic metre of water used. A cubic metre is about half a black water tank (220 gallons). So you can fill a black water tank for only $100. Customers in Georgetown will pay more than this but will still be able to fill their water tank for no more than $200.

Q. My bill is much more than what I consume, why?

A. In many cases customers either waste water through leaving taps running or have allowed their bills to mount up so they have arrears outstanding brought forward from previous bills

Q. If I can't afford to pay it all, what do I do?

A. It is important that customers contact us quickly and enter into a payment arrangement to settle their bill. These can be tailored to suit individual financial circumstances but must be kept and the accounts cleared within the agreed timescale. Doing nothing is not a good option because you will eventually be disconnected and face increased costs to get the supply back on.

Q. How can I pay?

A. Bills can be paid at the GWI offices as shown on the bill or at Bill Express, Post Offices, Citizens Bank, Republic Bank and GBTI. If you need to resolve a query before settling the bill then this is best done at the GWI office. Local arrangements for payment at other locations will also be available (e.g. your NDC office)

Q. My water supply is not available all day why should I pay?

A. The Company is striving to improve service to its customers both in terms of a continuous supply and quality. Whilst in the future we hope to achieve a continuous 24 hour service for the majority of customers, at present it isn't possible because the prices we charge only allow for the Company to pay pumping costs for part of the day. Your bill therefore reflects the level of service available at the moment. The service will not improve significantly until customers start to pay their bills on time.

Q. What is the minimum service I can expect?

A. It will vary from area to area but the minimum covered by the bill is a supply at standpipe level in your yard. This will be at different times of the day according to publicised schedules for particular areas. You should know when the water is going to be available to you so that you can deal with your own storage arrangements

Q. Water prices are going up why?

A. Total revenue from customer bills does not, at present, cover the company's day to day operating expenses, particularly our GPL bill. The recent price increase of 10% approved by the PUC is primarily to cover inflation over the past two years

Q. When will we see improvements in service?

A. Improvements are being made in various areas through donor funded capital projects that have not affected customer bills.

Q. I don't think I am charged on the right tariff-what should I do?

A. If you receive an un-metered bill but have a meter on your line call at your GWI office and tell them. We will update our records and start to bill you on the metered tariff from then onwards.

Q. I run a business but I am charged on the domestic tariff-what should I do?

A. You must notify your local GWI office immediately and you will be put on the correct tariff-if you don't you will face a large backdated bill in the future.

Q. I'm not sure if I am on the right tariff band, what should I do?

A. Call into your local GWI office to discuss the issue.

Q. I have received two bills for the same supply-one metered and the other un-metered what should I do?

A. You should notify your local GWI office immediately and you will be put on the correct metered tariff, the un-metered bill will be canceled.

Q. Who will be a candidate for disconnection during this debt recovery programme?

A. Any un-metered customer with arrears from their previous bill will be candidates for disconnection, similarly a metered customer with arrears will also be a candidate for disconnection

Q. What if I am in business and need water to run my business?

A. Your supply will be disconnected if you have not paid your bill, after all you would not supply your customers if they didn't pay you. If you are a food outlet the Public Health department will be notified.

Q. What if I am receiving a water supply but have not received a bill will I be disconnected?

A. Your supply may be disconnected. You should call in to your local GWI office to request your water bill

Q. If I am disconnected how will I get my supply back on?

A. You must pay your bill at your local GWI office. You will also have to pay a reconnection fee. If you can't pay the whole amount you may be allowed to pay in installments with a payment arrangement contract. If you have paid your bill at any other location other than the GWI office you must walk with your receipt as proof of payment.

Q. What if I paid before I was disconnected, will I have to pay the reconnection fee?

A. No

Q. Why have I received two bills close together, which one should I pay?

A. Examine the bills carefully, they should tell you the period they relate to. If you haven't paid for that period you must pay the total amount owed on the latest bill.

Q. I have a meter but my neighbour doesn't. My bill is higher, why should I pay more?

A. At present just over 20% of customers have a water meter but over the next few years there is a programme to increase that figure to 85%. This means that most customers will then be paying for the water they use and have more influence over the size of their bill.

Q. In the past my water supply has been very poor or non-existent, although it is okay now. Why do I have to pay for that period when I had no water?

A. If our records show this to be the case then an adjustment can be made to the bill to reflect the situation and you will only pay for the period in which you received water supply.

Q. Why am I being charged for the flood period when I couldn't receive a supply?

A. Whilst we regret that many customers were unable to access our service during this unfortunate period, we were nevertheless maintaining our obligation to provide a full service in our distribution system. The loss for un-metered customers is very small, metered customers lose nothing. Therefore, the bill must be paid

Q. I used to receive water free, why should I pay now?

GWI is now responsible for the delivery of water to your community. As part of the Licence granted to us by the Government we are legally obliged to charge all our customers for the service supplied in order to fund improvements to benefit the health and welfare of all citizens in the future.

Water is life! Save it!