With the coronavirus (COVID-19) seeming far from dissipating, the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) finds itself in a hard place with its revenues plummeting.
WUC is owed a whooping P1.1 billion as a result of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s clarion call to the corporation not to disconnect its customers for unpaid bills. The corporation has since resorted to reducing the water pressure for their defaulting customers.
WUC has introduced a Water Account Management Exercise, where it can reduce/lower the amount of water going into customer premises.
“The obvious impact is that water will continue to reach customers, but in smaller amounts than before/usual. This will enable access to usage for basic needs and availability of water as per the COVID-19 protocols. The other impact will be found in the bill, it will not grow at the same rate as when there is a normal water supply. But most importantly, it will encourage the customer to engage the corporation hence open room for resolutions of issues to better manage accounts,” WUC spokesperson, Beauty Mokoba said. She added this will be applied to all customers with outstanding high water bills after prior engagement with them. Mokoba said it is important to note that lowering water supply does not mean supply cuts or disconnections.
“Disconnection results in no water supply, while with reduced flow, the customer still has access to water. Therefore, in this Water Account Management Exercise, customers will still have access to water supply,” she explained. Mokoba said they have noted with concern significant growth in their domestic customer debt stating that “currently the corporation is owed P1.1 billion of which 65% of the total debt or about P700 million in actuals is domestic customer debt. This
When bills are high or too low, we encourage our customers to engage us. We request that those who have contracts with WUC engage us, bringing all the necessary information that will help us to make investigations on the account.
Mokoba said they also encourage minimal use of water as much as possible to reduce high bills. Further, she said the corporation is in the process of implementing smart metering, a pilot of which has started in Gaborone’s Village suburb. This, she said will provide for real-time remote monitoring of a metre thus eliminating human interaction and error. When Masisi made the announcement last March, the corporation was in fact already on its massive water disconnection exercise in Mogoditshane and Gaborone.
WUC had disconnected over 400 defaulting households at Mogoditshane Block 7 while an undisclosed figure of homes was also disconnected in the city.