NWC billing system being improved


The National Water Commission’s (NWC) customer information system (CIS) is being upgraded to provide customers with more accurate reflections of water consumption on their bills.
Chairman of Cabinet’s Infrastructure Committee, Michael Henry, told journalists at Wednesday’s (March 19) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, that a contract in the sum of US$503,067.57 has been approved and awarded to IBM World Trade Corporation for the provision of new hardware and software for the system. The project forms part of the institutional strengthening framework being effected under the Kingston Metropolitan Area Improvement Programme, and will replace the existing billing system, which the NWC has utilized for the past 15 years.
Water and Housing Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, who has portfolio responsibility for the NWC, told journalists that the Commission’s current computer hardware and software are “somewhat outdated” and “from time to time, you get errors, which have caused a number of people problems.” The CIS, he said, is aimed at “upgrading the system to keep it accurate, reliable, and modern.”
“It includes acquiring new meters in many areas. Many of our meters are decades old, and when we buy new ones, we actually expand (on the numbers in use), not change the old ones and that’s part of the problem that we are trying to overcome,” Dr. Chang outlined.
The Minister said that the project is part of overall efforts to transform the NWC into a modern and efficient agency. “It (NWC) does some good work in spots, but its management is keen on bringing it up to make it into a full utility,” he explained.
Noting that in many countries, the provision of water is a private undertaking, Dr. Chang said the NWC remained Jamaica’s sole publicly owned utility.”But it was taken off the budget some two or three years ago. In that context, it is now seeking to make itself into a modern and efficient operation, Dr. Chang said.

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