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  • Mr. Canon said the move follows discussions between the NWC and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to temporarily suspend the Guaranteed Standards in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the entity’s operations and the Government’s social distancing protocols.
  • That is simply not true. The fact of the matter is that all estimated bills are based on calculation. That calculation is based on the average of the customer’s last three bills, so the estimated bills are not decided in an arbitrary manner. There is careful calculation and based on the [nature of] the customer’s query, we will make the appropriate change,” he explained.
  • Additionally, the NWC is reminding customers that they have the right to query their bills. Persons are directed to contact the NWC at the toll-free number: 888-225-5692 (888-CALL-NWC). Questions can also be sent to public.relations@nwc.com.jm or customer.care@nwc.com.jm.

The National Water Commission (NWC) is temporarily suspending some of its meter-reading activities as part of several measures being implemented by the utility company to prevent transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This is one of several Guaranteed Standards of Service being suspended by the utility company for three months. Other services that have been suspended are connection to supply, meter installation and repair or replacement of faulty meters.

Corporate Public Relations Manager at the NWC, Andrew Canon, told JIS News the measure, which took effect on April 1 and is slated to end June 30, is part of precautionary measures being taken by the NWC to protect staff and members of the public and reduce transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mr. Canon said the move follows discussions between the NWC and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to temporarily suspend the Guaranteed Standards in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the entity’s operations and the Government’s social distancing protocols.

“The OUR has acceded to a request from the NWC to temporarily suspend the Guaranteed Standards in light of the impact of COVID-19. The suspension of the Guaranteed Standards are in keeping with those guidelines. We do not want to go out there and read meters and during that process, inadvertently expose our staff and the public to the COVID-19 virus. Given the current climate, we have to reduce, as much as possible, physical contact with persons, because we have to follow social distancing guidelines,” he explained.

The Guaranteed Standards of service are set by the OUR.

Addressing concerns raised by members of the public regarding the suspension of the meter readings, Mr. Canon said the company has instead adopted estimated readings, noting that this will be calculated using consumption patterns of the three previous months.

“There is a notion that because we are going to be doing estimated reading of bills, then bills are going to go up by leaps and bounds.

That is simply not true. The fact of the matter is that all estimated bills are based on calculation. That calculation is based on the average of the customer’s last three bills, so the estimated bills are not decided in an arbitrary manner. There is careful calculation and based on the [nature of] the customer’s query, we will make the appropriate change,” he explained.

Mr. Canon added that although there is a general suspension of the Guaranteed Standards, meter reading would still take place where possible.

Other measures put in place by the utility company in response to the public health emergency include suspension on service disconnection for arrears, late payment as well as a moratorium on penalty fees for late payment.

Additionally, the NWC is reminding customers that they have the right to query their bills. Persons are directed to contact the NWC at the toll-free number: 888-225-5692 (888-CALL-NWC). Questions can also be sent to public.relations@nwc.com.jm or customer.care@nwc.com.jm.

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