Persons who took up the National Water Commission (NWC) offer to settle outstanding bills under its COVID-19 Assistance Programme (CAP) will have up to November 30 to pay off their debt.
Under the programme, residential and condominium customers were offered a 30 per cent discount on outstanding bills, while commercial customers were offered a 25 per cent discount.
The offer was made as part of the NWC’s assistance to customers who have outstanding balances older than 90 days and are experiencing financial challenges as a result of COVID-19.
Under CAP, the NWC wrote off $117 million in debt with only 10,607 persons taking up the offer.
President of the NWC, Mark Barnett, said he would have liked to see more persons benefiting from the offer even though the company has also been impacted financially due to the pandemic.
He pointed out that for the eight-month period starting March up to the end of October, “we would have lost… upwards of $2 billion in our revenue”.
“Like all businesses in Jamaica, the NWC was not spared from the impact of COVID and our efforts to provide assistance comes at an expense to the NWC. With COVID, we saw a reduction in our large commercial customer usage, and for one period, our revenue would have dropped as much as 40 per cent,” he said while speaking during a recently held digital press conference.
Mr. Barnett noted that even as the NWC provides support to customers during the pandemic, the company has to be mindful about how it manages its operations to ensure it remains viable going forward.
“We want to ensure that we can still provide the service to you – water supply in your pipe, collect your sewage and reduce overflow where they occur as much as possible.
“In doing that, it really requires a particular level of cash flow regularly, and so we have to be mindful in that context, and, therefore, giving back is not going to be an activity that we can sustain,” he said.
Mr. Barnett encouraged customers to help the NWC to serve them better by being “a responsible citizen and pay your water bill.