Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has cautioned customers as a massive water disconnection looms against debtors following the lapse of State of Emergency (SoE) period. In an interview this week, WUC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gaselemogwe Senai said about 70,000 customers are eligible for water disconnection, pleading with debtors with outstanding water bills to take advantage of the one month grace period to settle their debt.
WUC had ceased water disconnections back in 2020 in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 following a call by the President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Senai told Mmegi that SoE has ended on September 30, 2021 and things are back to normal hence stiff action will be taken against debtors.
He said debtors whose water supply was reconnected on account of the SoE will be given an opportunity to make plans until the end of October 2021. Senai said the corporation has granted a one month grace period, from October 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021 to allow debtors to make payment arrangements and re-apply for services where applicable.
“WUC had in the advent of the SoE implemented the suspension of disconnections to all customers who owed the corporation until further notice and reconnection of all customers with inactive and unsettled water account. SoE has come to an end and the Corporation will resume the normal application of water supply service policies and terms and conditions,” he said.
He stated that customers with inactive water accounts and who were reconnected will also be given an opportunity to reapply for water services as well as to make payment arrangements for their debt until October 31, 2021. “Customers are failing to pay their debts, the corporation had ceased water disconnections in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 but surprisingly the majority of customers took advantage of this move and stopped paying their monthly bills.
We had connected 40 ,000 accounts prior to SoE but currently about 70,000 accounts are eligible for disconnection because people had stopped paying their bills. This is worrisome because only 15% of customers have so far paid their debts,” Senai said. Senai added that earlier this year the corporation resorted to reducing the water pressure for defaulting customers but the move has proved to be ineffective as people are still failing to pay their water bills. Then, WUC introduced a Water Account Management Exercise, where it could reduce/lower the amount of water going into customer premises.
However, Senai said the move has proved to be ineffective and the only option left is for the corporation to have a massive water disconnection prior to the one month grace period. Furthermore, Senai encouraged minimal use of water as much as possible to reduce high bills. He encouraged the public to use the WUC App to pay water bills as a way to manage water accounts and prevent gatherings at WUC revenue offices thereby applying social distancing as advised by government.