Residents of Ketting Village, West Coast Berbice are outraged at the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company’s billing demands, which saw some private residents receiving charges amounting to over $350,000 on their power bills with only a two-week period to clear the debt.
The plight of these residents was highlighted by the Alliance For Change at a press conference at its Campbellville Head Office yesterday.
While all of the residents expressed their commitment in clearing the stipulated amount sent by GPL, they said they were frustrated by the timeframe given as well as billing queries that ended in futility.
Rhanda Khan, representative of the group ,stated their plight began in 2006, when they were relocated from D’ Edward Village, West Coast Berbice to Ketting Village, due to works being carried out on the Berbice Bridge. She added that from this time until 2008, residents visited the GPL offices since no bills were issued to anyone in their community. They were told by GPL personnel that their names were not yet entered in their “system” but this issue would have soon been resolved.
After persistent visits and demands for monthly bills, they began receiving handwritten bills for the years prior. They, however, ceased payments on their bills after they came to realisation that there were apparently no records of the bills.
In January of this year, residents began receiving electronic bills, but much to their dismay it totaled accrued individual amounts of over quarter of a million dollars.
They formed a group and approached the Onverwagt office of GPL, but were told that they would have to pay half of all amounts owed in two weeks, with an additional six month period being given to clear the balance or be disconnected. They could not meet the demands and as a result “the whole village is now in darkness,“ Khan said.
The residents are calling on officials of GPL to assist with longer pay back periods, since they in no way plan to default GPL of monies owed. They added that because of their meagre earnings as sugar workers and fishermen, they could in no way meet the company’s payment demand.