(CNS) – The National Water Commission (NWC) has revealed that arrears owed by its customers have now skyrocketed to $26 billion.
This is up from $20 billion last year.
The arrears have accumulated over several years through theft of the commodity as well as unpaid bills.
The arrears continue to rise despite an initiative to get delinquent customers to pay.
Speaking at a media briefing at the NWC’s corporate office in Kingston on Friday, NWC President Mark Barnett said the company is implementing anti-theft strategies to reduce losses.
“What we are now doing is to ensure that new surfaces use a different type of material for the supply pipe leading from our mains in the street to the boundary…so as to minimise the possibility of bypassing or tampering,” he explained.
Barnett also noted that the NWC will not be engaging in further amnesties to collect funds owed to it.
“Customers who benefitted from those amnesty don’t uphold their commitment…so we’re not continuing to break citizens into that bad habit of freeness. Anywhere else you go in the world, everybody pays for utilities. Why not in Jamaica? And so, we are changing that whole approach. It cannot be free,” he asserted.