The Public Utilities Commis-sion (PUC) is advising customers not to pay charges on their water bills that were not approved by the utility commission.
In a statement yesterday the PUC said that it has received numerous complaints from consumers who say that they are being charged “inflated and exorbitant rates above what they are legally required to pay.” The statement said that if consumers get bills with unapproved charges they should refuse to pay; if their service is interrupted by the Water Company then they should immediately lodge complaints with the PUC.
Following this statement, the Guyana Water Incor-porated (GWI) held a press conference yesterday afternoon to address what the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Karan Singh called high irresponsibility on the part of the PUC.
Singh said that the PUC has placed GWI in a difficult situation and has opened the “floodgates for irresponsibility from consumers.” The CEO said that the company already faces a difficult time in collecting its water rates and this statement by the PUC will contribute to GWI having a more difficult time.
The PUC’s statement also said that it had invited Singh and representatives from GWI to visit the PUC to address the issue and though Singh had given his word at a public hearing dated October 1st, “the commission still has had no representation from GWI, despite our reminders to him.”
When questioned on his lack of response Singh would only say that he had attended the public hearing. He added that although GWI respects the functions of the PUC his company cannot work at the “beck and call” of the commission. He added that GWI has met every requirement of the PUC.
GWI is seeking advice from its lawyers on the next move, Singh said.
He said too that the PUC is using a “one-sided, high-handed approach,” and has become “consumer advocates”. If someone is contending that they are paying much too high water rates then they should have tangible evidence to support their claims, Singh said.
Singh also addressed the issue of water supply at the New Amsterdam Hospital, which had resulted in surgeries being postponed.
Singh said that they are addressing the issue and have encouraged the hospital to build a reservoir which they have helped to design. They will also provide water at non-peak hours to fill the reservoirs.