Improvement dependent on GWI’s rate increase

first_imgDear Editor,Improvement in the quality of water provided to citizens, as well as an increase in supply, is dependent on much-needed revenue to finance the upgrade of aged infrastructure, build human resource capacity, and purchase the requisite equipment and chemicals to treat the water.This reasoning was reinforced by the Guyana Water Inc on Wednesday at the Woodbine Room of Cara Lodge, during the second public hearing for an application on change of rates, organised by the Public Utilities Commission.Responding to questions from the audience gathered at the hearing, Managing Director of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, explained that the company’s debt figure is high, and collections alone cannot sufficiently finance the investments made to treat water for a growing economy.“When we apply the Limitation Act and look at the debt beyond the last three years, there is no way — if you collect that debt anyway — that you can cover the cost, because nothing stands still. We’re having customers every day; we’re having new housing schemes, both private and public; we are looking at already existing schemes that do not have access; those that require an improvement of quality, such as New Hope,” Dr Van West-Charles said.He further highlighted that in the context of the strategic plan, maintenance of the system is necessary, and the needs of the hinterland regions as well as the improvement of water quality across the country must be taken into consideration.Dr. Van West-Charles stressed that, globally, every company caters for some level of delinquency from customers who do not pay their debt. In this regard, he cited other utility and hire-purchase entities.Additionally, the Managing Director pointed out that while salaries are equal among staff countrywide, so should the rates be.During his presentation, it was also highlighted that since the last rate change, 12 years ago, the cost for purifying water alone has increased by more than 100 per cent, let alone the cost for equipment and manual labour, among other things. In this regard, Dr. Van West-Charles stated that the utility has since moved to employ and train staff in the necessary areas of expertise, such as learning new drilling techniques and water quality improvements.GWI is proposing a change in rates for residential and non-residential (metered and unmetered) customers, and a new category for pensioners. The PUC has requested an unaudited copy of GWI’s 2016 financial statements, to be presented at the next public hearing, scheduled for March 14, 2018 at the same venue from 10:00hrs. GWI has promised to meet with its Board of Directors to seek permission in regard to providing same.Yours truly,Public Relations OfficerGWIlast_img

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