EDITOR: I feel the need to speak out about a CWSA matter in the public interest. Recently, a young mother of a 15-month old baby visited my office. She told me that the water supply to her house had been disconnected. I listened to her story.
She had been accustomed to paying a water bill of around $45.00 per month. She had a history of being up-to-date with payments or even ahead of schedule.
However, there was an astronomical escalation of her water bill for the months of October 2022 ($908.00), November 2022 ($1,316.75) and December 2022 ($1,645.25).This was apparently due to a leak. She received no notification from CWSA about the sky-rocketing bills or potential problem.
In other words, her water bill increased by over 2,000% between September and October 2022 without notification! I find this to be highly ridiculous. Where she would have had to pay less than $150.00 for water over the course of 3 months in normal circumstances, she was now being asked to pay $4,000.00!
She discovered the leak in the December billing period and fixed the problem. She reached out to the CWSA for relief with no satisfactory results. In fact, her water supply was disconnected.
She has been forced to find a way to take care of her infant and the rest of her family without water. She has been subjected to more than a week without water, so far.
She came to me almost in tears. I asked the CWSA to reconnect the water supply pending a resolution and made a proposal of settlement. The CWSA held its line despite our reasonable submissions. This is insensitive
and heartless behaviour on the part of the CWSA. We cannot accept it.
I know about other similar cases.
This situation should not have been allowed to develop in the first place. The CWSA has a responsibility of protecting the financial and emotional welfare of customers. We should be informed about unusual activity on our accounts in a timely manner. The CWSA could place credit limits on customer accounts. These facilities are commonplace in today’s world. This type of measure would have nipped this problem in the bud.
I generally have a lot of respect for CWSA as a statutory authority. However, I have to say that it did not do right by this customer and other persons who have suffered a similar fate. I urge the CWSA to address the problem of this young woman and her family with urgency. I also encourage it to adopt and implement a rigorous system of notifications and controls that would prevent people from experiencing bill shocks. This is not rocket science.
R.T. Luke V. Browne