Water Not Free In Jamaica: National Water Commission Says Pay Up Or Go Without.

File photo. Mark Barnett is the head of the Jamaican National Water Commission. His company has started a massive cutoff drive to enforce payment on delinquent accounts.
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KINGSTON, Jamaica–December 2nd, 2020–“Pay For It Or Lose It” that’s the latest message from Jamaica’s National Water Commission, which has launched a massive disconnection drive to try to enforce payment on utility company accounts that are in default.

Earlier this year, the NWC had made offers to delinquent customers to settle their arrears under the COVID Assistance Program (CAP).

Under this arrangement, residential customers were offered a thirty percent (30%) discount to settle their debt. The CAP for residential customers was extended after it was running for three months.

Additionally, commercial customers were also offered a twenty-five percent (25%) discount to settle outstanding payments. As a responsible utility that is sensitive to the needs of our valued customers, the NWC had also taken the decision not to disconnect water supply during the initial period of the outbreak of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

However, prudent business practices now dictate, says the NWC that delinquent customers who refuse to settle their debt come forward and honor their obligations.

The company has noted that based on its records, some customers are abusive of their arrangements, in that they rack up huge bills, use excessive water, and refuse to engage with the company to work out a payment plan. Such situations, the company says, must now be urgently addressed if the entity is to remain viable and provide a product and services that are crucial to the livelihood of the Jamaican people.

Meanwhile, the NWC is urging customers that non-payment of their bills could also affect their credit ratings. As of December 1, 2020, the company is empowered by law to provide credit information on its customers if such information is requested by business entities.

Customers are reminded to monitor their consumption patterns especially during the Christmas period and not to waste water. Customers are further reminded to constantly check for leaks as these can sometimes be the cause of higher-than-expected bills.

If it is any consolation to those who are behind with water bills, at least they can make payments online now.

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