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GWI’s rate increase to aid in upgrade of infrastructure, services- Managing Director

GWI’s Managing Director, Dr Richard Van West Charles

Managing Director of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Dr. Richard Van West-Charles says the  new fixed charge that consumers will have to pay will be spent improving the company’s aged distribution network system.

This follows an announcement by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that it has approved increases in rates and tariffs for GWI.

Dr. Van West-Charles explained that since 2013, the PUC approved an increase in rates for GWI to implement within one year but this was never done. He emphasised that the company’s poor infrastructure is preventing it from providing adequate service.

“It is safe to say that in most utility companies there is a fixed charge which permits the company to conduct maintenance, repairs and replacement of that infrastructure. We still have pockets of communities which do not have access to adequate service. Additionally, more and more housing schemes are being developed and the reality is that we want people to have an adequate service,” Dr. Van West-Charles was quoted by government’s Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying.

The Managing Director noted that the company is in the process of rebuilding its infrastructure. Efforts are underway to acquire a crane for timely maintenance and special vehicles for timely and efficient maintenance of GWI’s wells.

The utility company is also collaborating with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to ensure that lands are awarded to citizens based on the analysis of the adequacy of GWI’s supply of water to the residents.

“We do not own a tank to deliver water to communities in crises…In some of the villages along the coast, once a well goes off; the entire village is without supply. So, in addition to redundant wells, we need to buy stuff that is interconnected that if a well fails, we are able to sustain supplies from other parts of the network to various communities.”

He informed that Guyana has been zoned and customers will be informed where the new charges are being applied before implementation on October 1, 2018.

Dr. Van West-Charles stressed that in the new tariff, the fixed charge will not be applied to pensioners, except for consumptions above the 10-meter cube rate. The consumption for pensioners is capped at 10-meter cube rate per month which is $740. If the pensioner is living with relatives and the pensioner is the customer, he or she will pay for the consumption over the 10-meter cube.

The new fixed charge is $250 monthly with consumers in the $60- $90 category to pay $86 per m3. All other consumers will pay a monthly consumption charge of $112 per m3. From October 1, 2019, the fixed charge will be $500 monthly.

Unmetered residential consumers will pay a monthly fixed charge of $250 with the monthly consumption charge to be $1,100. From October 1, 2019, the monthly fixed charges will go up to $500 with the monthly consumption charge of $1,450.