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High NWC bills send residents over the edge

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

Some residents in the Corporate Area are fuming over receiving high National Water Commission (NWC) bills despite being faced with severe water restrictions.

One Kingston resident, who gave her name as Paula, said her last bill recorded a $2,500 charge. This, she said, was no different from previous charges when she had full supply.

"I am not supposed to pay this amount of money for water I don't use," she argued. "I am going through a lot of inconvenience lately because I have to cut down on some of the things that I do with water, and then, at the end of the day, I am to pay so much money."

Another Kingston resident, who gave her name as Marie, voiced similar concerns, claiming the NWC bill was merely estimated, and not a true reflection of her consumption trends.

Charles Buchanan, corporate relations manager at the NWC, in downplaying the reports said water bills were delivered two to three months after the service is used.

"So the bill that a customer receives in February is not for water that was supplied in February, it would be for previously received service," he told
The Gleaner

Water volume

Buchanan said customers should take into consideration that water is charged according to volume received, not convenience and pressure.

"If you receive 3,000 gallons of water, but you receive it at low pressure ... you are still receiving 3,000 gallons. You may be somewhat inconvenienced in that you didn't get it the way you wanted it, but you will still be charged for the volume that you receive.

"In a similar way, if you receive water on a regulated schedule, where for a certain number of hours for the day you don't have the service but you fill up your containers - if you use the same volume, the bill will not change in any meaningful way," he said.

Buchanan said drought conditions have caused a dilemma for the NWC, as a significant decline in billing has resulted in reduced revenue.

He added that although the commission has less of the commodity to distribute, it has been faced with the challenge of increased operational costs.

The current restrictions have seen the NWC using wells, which require more electricity to be pumped from underground, increased distribution by trucks and more demand on manpower to regulate the system.