Guyana Water Incorporated

Customer Charter

GWI Customer Charter

Dear Customer,

This Customer Charter has been developed to clearly state our customer services commitments and inform you about your rights as a GWI customer. It focuses on the particular needs and concerns of our domestic and non-domestic customers.

What we have outlined in this document is our duty to you, what you should expect from us. We have also included what we expect from you as our customers, so that together we can create a company providing high quality water and sewerage services and efficient responses to your inquiries.

Delivering these commitments will inevitably take time and can only be achieved with your support. We therefore seek your support in making GWI a truly Guyanese utility. Please be aware of your rights and obligations as a customer. When you are aware of your rights and responsibilities, you will be able to give us more accurate feedback, thereby helping us to improve our service for you.

I recommend that you take time to read this chapter now and keep it in handy for future reference.

About Guyana Water Inc.

On May 30th, 2002, Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) was formed following the dissolution of the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) and the Georgetown Sewerage & Water Commissioners (GS&WC).

GWI operates under the regulations as outlined in the Water & Sewerage Act 2002.

As of 2007 we provided water to approximately 145,000 customers residing along Guyana’s coastal belt, Bartica, Linden and the Hinterland. We also provide sewerage service to about 11,000 customers in Georgetown.

Our Mission

To deliver safe, adequate and affordable water and ensure safe sewerage systems for improved public health and sustainable economic development.

Our Vision

To ensure an efficient, sustainable and financially viable water and sewerage sector delivering a high quality service to customers.

Our Strategic Objectives

• Provide water to customer at an adequate pressure and volume at all times so that customer
demand and revenue targets are met and investment plans are achieved.
• Improve delivered water quality meeting Guyana’s National Bureau of Standards’ targets over time
so that the public health is protected and customer acceptability enhanced.
• Efficiently produce, treat and distribute water to customers to recover fair charges for the service and
minimize the impact of tariffs on the poor.
• Make water services readily available to new customers in order to satisfy increasing demand and to
reduce the impact of related capital cost on tariffs, fees and charges.
• Improve water supply services to the poor and to communities in the Hinterland regions.
• Ensure the effective treatment and disposal of sewerage to support improved public health
standards.
• Achieve financial self-sufficiency so that long term dependence on eternal funding is removed.

How to read this Charter?

This charter sets out what you, our customer, can expect from us and what we expect from you.
This is a summary of your rights and responsibilities and our mutual obligations as outlined in the application form for your sewerage and water connection.
Please read this document as our commitment for the future need to further invest in order to reach them.

Our Service Commitments

-Shared rights and responsibilities

Our service levels are guaranteed to the connection points at your property boundary. The connection point for water supply is usually identified by water meter or a float valve at the property boundaries that measures and or controls the flow of water to your property. The connection point with our sewer branch will also be just inside your property boundary.

The general rule is that we are responsible for maintaining the waters service, including the property water meter or float valve and sewer branch, up to the connection point.

All pluming and pipe work from our water and sewer connection points to and within a property’s internal pluming, are the responsibility of the customer.

-Your right for a water or sewer connection
We will connect new properties to the water or sewer network (where existing) in prompt and efficient manner, within 21 days after payment or as advised by the Customer Service Representative at the time of payment. Where a new property is not in close proximity to our water networks, we will work with you to try to find a determined solution. In addition to the regular connection fee, the customer is liable to pay in advance for any additional work to be done.

-Your right to water supply

You can expect us to deliver clean and safe drinking water on a consistent basis at sufficient pressure.

We will endeavour:
• To ensure the quality of your water supply meets the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS)
regulations and is in compliance with the World Health Organisation Standards.
• To deliver drinking water.
• To deliver water at sufficient pressure to reach the first floor (5 meters head in the water main)
• To deliver water at flow rate ( least 9 litres per minute at the first tap in the property)

-Your rights to drink quality water

If at any time we believe that there is a problem with the quality of your water, due to our supple system, we will provide appropriate advice and an alternative water supply where we think necessary and possible.

If you tell us you that you have problems with your water supply, we will investigate.

If you report a water quality problem which in your assessment may have impacted on the safety of your water supply, we will:

• Visit you within 1 working day, and
• Solve the problem within 3 working days, and
• Give you an alternative water supply where appropriate

-Your rights to continuous service

We aim to provide a constant supply of water, but some events will inevitably interrupt the flow, example bursts in mains, pump failures or power cuts. If there is a problem please call our Customer Service Centre on 227-8701.

Where there is an interruption to your water supply caused by a problem in our side of the system (for example a burst water main), we will:

• Aim to restore the supply within one day
• Give you an alternative water supply where appropriate

We will ensure that unplanned interruptions to your water supply do not occur more than 3 times a year.

We will give you 3 working days’ advance notice for any planned interruption to your water service, preferably in the local TV, Radio, Public Address System, Bell Crier and or newspaper ( including when and how long they will occur).

-Your rights to sewerage service

Where the sewerage networks exist, that is Central Georgetown and Tucville Housing Scheme, by law all sewerage must enter the collecting sewers so that it can be discharged to the street sewers and then to the respective pumping stations. There are existing collecting sewers to all premises/lots within the sewerage areas. Depending on your existing proposed structure the collecting sewers can be altered to meet the building specifications. This is not applicable in all cases since provision must be made always for GWI to access the sewerage system (collecting and housing sewers). You are responsible for your internal pipe work and house sewer.

Collecting Sewer: means the common drain into which it is discharged, the sewerage from two or more premises and which conveys that sewerage to a street sewer and includes appliances and accessories to the drain.

House Sewer: means a drain or pipe for the drainage of sewer from a building or house, its areas, water closets, baths, offices and stables to a sewer or to a collecting sewer, and includes gully traps, sinks, traps and other accessories.

According to the Water & Sewerage Act: all house sewers in private property, water closets, soil pipes shall be subjected to survey by the Public Supplier (GWI) and shall be re-constructed, altered, repaired and kept in order by the owners or occupiers of the premises, for which they belong or for the use of which they are constructed when so ordered by the Public Supplier.

You are entitled to expect us to ensure that sewerage is removed on a continuous basis. We are responsible for the discharge and disposal of this wastewater from the collecting sewers so that it does not damage the environment of Guyana.

-Your rights in relation to sewerage overflows or blockages

Overflows are due to blockages. Whenever this occurs it means that waste other than household sewage and the necessary paper has been deposited into the system and blocks the path of the wastewater. Where a sewage overflow occurs on your property or in case of any blockage, we will:

• Respond promptly
• Minimise the damage and inconvenience for you,
• Ensure that the sewerage spill is contained as soon as possible – within one day.

However, this is dependent on the cause and type of blockage since some blockages are caused by solids blocking the road and collecting sewers therefore making it difficult to clear within one (1) day.

Customers must therefore adhere to the Dos’ and Don’ts when using the sewerage system and be aware of the Water & Sewerage Act which highlights penalties for offenses. In this way the overflows will be reduced and our response will be improved.

Whilst we will make every effort to comply with the above service standards, we cannot be held responsible for failure due to: industrial action, extreme weather, natural disasters, third party actions and issues which are the direct responsibility of the customer.

-Your rights to sewerage service

Where piped sewerage networks exist, you can expect us to remove your sewerage on a continuous basis. We will dispose of this sewerage so that it does not damage the environment.

-Your rights in relation to sewerage spills or blocks

Where a sewerage spill occurs on your property or in case of any blockage, we will:
• Respond promptly
• Minimise the damage and inconvenience for you,
• Ensure that the sewerage spill is contained as soon as possible - within one day.

Whilst we will make every effort to comply with the above service standards, we cannot be held responsible for failure due to: industrial action, extreme weather, natural disasters, third party actions and issues which are the direct responsibility of the customer.

DO’S and DON’TS –Sewerage System

• Do ensure that all household wastewater pipes are kept leak free and in order.

• Do seek advice from GWI for any construction or excavation within your premises so that sewerage
pipes can be identified.

• Do ensure that all kitchen solid waste and other waste do not enter the sewerage system.

• Do install grease traps with GWI’S (Specification Department) specifications, if you plan to cook food
on a large scale.

• Do consult GWI (Sanitation Department) before installing additional toilet facilities on your premise.

• Do seek advice and collect a scope of works from GWI (Sanitation Department) when constructing
new sewerage chambers.

• Do report choked gullies and chambers to GWI (Sanitation Department).

• Do ensure all gullies, duct foot bends and sewage chambers are positioned outside of buildings.

• Don’t dispose of any debris/ solids other than sewerage in the sewerage chambers, manholes,
gullies and toilets.

• Don’t attempt to connect or remove any sewerage pipes to existing pipes, chambers and manholes
without the authorization of GWI (Sewerage Department).

• Don’t intentionally plug or block any existing sewerage pipes to prevent sewage from flowing
through them without the approval of GWI (Sanitation Department).

• Don’t construct any roads, buildings (or any other structure that would prevent authorised personnel
from accessing the sewerage chambers and manholes) over existing manholes and chambers.

• Don’t construct any septic tank in the Sewerage System areas.

• Don’t remove manhole and chamber covers to construct or add solid materials in manholes and
chambers.

• Don’t remove any materials from the Sewerage Pumping Stations even if the station is not in
operation.

Charges and Billing

-Charges and rates

We bill the registered customer based on tariffs determined according to procedures and mechanisms as determined by the license granted to GWI and in accordance with the Public Utilities Commission.

Reducing your account

If you are a metered customer, wise use of water can reduce the consumption charges in your account, and thus help you save money.

-Your rights with regard to tariff changes

When there is any change in your tariff we will inform you about them before they take effect, either in writing or in the media.

Bill cycles

If you are an un-metered customer, we will bill you yearly at the start of the New Year.
When you have a meter on your water supply, we will:

• Bill on quarterly basis
• Based on an accurate or estimated reading
• Within 10 days of meter reading
• Bill monthly for large consumers

If we bill you based on an estimated reading we will clearly state this in your bill. We will not bill you on more than two consecutive estimated readings.

-Your right for exemption

If you are an old age pensioner, you can request exemption via the Ministry of Human Services. Only this Ministry can guarantee exemption from payment of your water bill.

-Paying your bill

Your bill is due within 28 days after bill production date. You can pay your bill at your local GWI Office or your Commercial Banks, the Post Office and Bill Express.

If you do not receive a bill for your water consumption, you are still responsible for paying for the service provided. Prevent the accumulation of charges on your account and contact us so that we can rectify the situation.

Payment difficulties

If you are having trouble paying your water bill, please contact us so that we can arrange an alternative payment plan.

Failure to pay your water bill

We will make all reasonable efforts to help to settle your accounts. However, if you have not paid within 28 days after we produce the bill or contacted us to arrange your payments. Therefore, you are eligible for disconnection according to the Water and Sewerage Act 2002.

We will reconnect your water supply within 48 hours after you have settled your account and paid the reconnection fee.

Final bills

You must give us two working day notice before vacating your property, whether you are a tenant or the owner. This will enable GWI to read your water meter and issue a final account. If you fail to do so you may remain liable for water and sewerage charges which must be paid before we provide you with a new supply.

We will change customer information within two days after written notification and receipt of required evidence of change. Please contact your local GWI office about documentation required to request a charge in customer information.

Please be aware:

Before selling a property the owner should clear all outstanding debt. In case there is still debt outstanding GWI has the right to disconnect the water service. We therefore strongly advise buyers of property to request GWI to submit a letter of compliance before transferring ownership to your name.

Water Meters

If you want to know more about a metered connection, please contact your local GWI office.

Meter Installation

When we install water meters in your area or request a water meter to be installed, we will visit to check if a water meter can be fitted to your supply and to determine with you where the meter should be located. We will inform you on each step of the process.

Meter charges

When you have a meter, your water charges are calculated based upon your actual water usage or the amount of water that passed through your meter. If your monthly consumption is below a certain volume, we will apply a fixed charge in order to cover the cost of maintenance, reading and billing. The charge is determined by your tariff code.

-Your right to receive accurate meter reading

If you believe your meter is inaccurate you can ask us to test your meter on payment of a fee. The permitted limits error is +/-2.5% to +/-6% depending on flow rate. If the meter is found to be inaccurate we will repair or replace your meter and refund the fee. If you are over or undercharged, we will adjust your bill. We will normally assume that your meter was reading correctly.

When you discover that your meter is blocked, defective, or has become damaged you should notify us immediately. We will test, repair or replace your meter within 5 working days after notification.

Access to the meter

Your meter should be accessible so it can be read regularly. Where we cannot read your meter, we my ask you to do so on our behalf. If you do not provide a reading, we may estimate the amount of water you use. The estimation is based on your water usage history and any necessary adjustments will be made the next time your meter is read.

Please be aware

It is a criminal offense to interfere with the operation of a water meter.

Tampering with your meter

If you are caught tampering with your meter, you will be required to pay a fine:-

-Domestic Customers pay a fine of $25,000
-Non-Domestic Customers pay a fine of $50,000

Giving good Service

-Quires and complaints

If you have quires or complaints you may call us at 227-8701. We will answer your telephone call within 10 seconds.

If you visit one of our Customer Service Offices, you will be served within:

• 15 minutes at peak hours, and within
• 5 minutes at off-peak hours

Our staff is available to answer your quires from 08:00h until 16:30h form Monday to Thursday and on Friday until 15:30h.

Where possible we will solve your query or complaint immediately. If we do not have all the information to respond to your query immediately, we may require a few hours to locate the necessary information. We will reply to your query within 3 working days where immediate corrective action can be taken and within 20 days where a more comprehensive response is needed.

What if I am still not satisfied?

If you are not satisfied you may request your query to be re-assessed by a senior manager.

If this response still does not solve your query to your satisfaction you can refer your complaint to the Director of Customer Relations & Commercial Service. Please send your complaint to Guyana Water Incorporated, Director Customer Relations & Commercial Services, Shelter Belt, Vlissengen Road, Georgetown.

We will reply to your correspondence within 7 days where possible or where a more comprehensive response is required within 20 days.

Leakage

A water main or connection to your property can burst or leak as a result of ground movement, damage by road works or corrosion in the pipe, also high pressure or vandalism. Water can also be lost through joints, both in our pipes and those that are the customers’ responsibility. Each leakage will in the end increase your water bill regardless whether you are metered or un-metered. Each leakage means that money is being wasted on producing and pumping water. These extra costs are recovered through our water charges to you.

We will do anything possible to identify and repair leaks. Help us improve your wasted supply and reduce money being wasted by reporting leakage immediately.

If you spot a leak, call our Customer Services Centre on 227-8701

Please note:

Leaks on internal pipe work, that is all pipes beyond your meter stop tap, are not GWI’S responsibility. However, if we stop water from being wasted at your side of the connection, we can disconnect your water supply.

DO'S and DON’TS

-Do repair leaking taps or pipes in your home immediately.

-Do pay particular attention to ball cocks/plumbing on your tank.

-Don’t allow animals near an external water supply. Fence this off so that they cannot pollute the area.

-Do let us know if you are planning to move from your home – we can ensure that you are only charged up
to the day you leave.

-Don’t make a connection to the water network without consulting GWI. You could easily contaminate the
water and make people ill.

-Do report to us any water leaks that you see in the street immediately so that they can be repaired
quickly.

-Don’t allow taps to be left running, unless it is absolutely necessary. This will ensure that there is more
water available to everyone.

-Do report any blockages in the main sewer so that we can remove these quickly and avoid any health
hazards to your family or your neighbours.

-Don’t store water in uncovered or unsterilised containers – bacteria will love these conditions and pollute
the water very quickly.

-Do pay your water bills promptly so that we can invest in improving your water services.

-Don’t tamper with your water meter –this is illegal and is also dangerous.

Further Information

For information, inquiries of fault reports, contact
Guyana Water Incorporated

General inquiries:
Tel: 227-8701

Email us: pro@gwi.gy
Or visit our website: www.gwiguyana.com

Local Offices

Anna Regina 771-4301
Pouderoyen 264-2279
Peters Hall 233-5024
Bachelor’s Adventure 229-6156
Fort Wellington 328-2655
Chesney/Corentyne 322-0477
New Amsterdam
Linden 444-2551

Water is life! Do not waste it!