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Two clients take payment plan

Published: 
Monday, December 4, 2017
WASA’s commercial debt drive bears fruit

Residential Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) customers still have time to get their accounts in order before action is taken to seize their properties, as the authority is currently focused on commercial clients.

However, the drive is already bearing fruit as two commercial property owners who were advertised the press have agreed to enter into payment plans to clear off their debt.

The action comes as WASA moves to recover $500 million owed by errant customers, following chairman Romney Thomas’ announcement last month that they would begin seizing and selling properties to recover outstanding debts. WASA has the authority under the Water and Sewerage Act and the Rates and Charges Recovery Act. The majority of the WASA debt is owned by commercial customers.

A week ago, WASA published the first two addresses of commercial customers at St Yves Street, Chaguanas and the O’Meara Industrial Estate, Arima.

Contacted over the weekend for an update on the drive, Thomas said the first two customers have since visited the authority and set up payment plans.

“In terms of those two customers we have advertised, they would have met the criteria of being commercial properties who have a significant amount in terms of outstanding water rates. They are customers we would have written to before or tried to engage them in liquidating their outstanding arrears.

“All efforts had failed so we took this action. Since the publication of that advertisement last week, both customers have come in and made arrangements to liquidate their outstanding amounts,” Thomas said.

Yesterday, WASA published the addresses of two more customers at Saddle Road, Maraval and the corner of Frederick and Sellier Streets in Curepe.

On residential customers, Thomas said WASA will try to engage those who have significant arrears and encourage them to pay off the outstanding amounts. While there have been rumblings in various quarters over WASA’s tough action, he said customers have been coming in to settle their accounts.

“We are being very thorough in going through the list because we want to ensure everyone has a fair chance to settle. This is not something we take delight in doing,” he said.

“This is a last resort because we don’t really want to take anybody’s property. We’re not in the business of selling properties, our objective is to collect outstanding rates and that is it.”

Next on WASA’s agenda will be going after illegal connections. However, Thomas said those people with such connections will be encouraged to regularise their accounts first. But he noted that illegal connections are one of the main reasons for water wastage.

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