General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Keithroy Halliday believes that the decision by the Fair Trading Commission not to hold the authority responsible for compensatory payments to customers for interruption of service, is a fair one.
This morning Halliday told Barbados TODAY that while he understood the frustration of customers who continue to be impacted by severe water outages, the BWA was still incurring cost.
“This is a ticklish question for the Barbados Water Authority, and we understand that it is an area that gets customers upset. From our standpoint there is still a minimum type of cost for the provision of service to all consumers. The way the bill is set out covers that administrative or that capital cost. So even though there are times that the water supply has not been the best or the most efficient, that capital cost, in terms of making sure that the service is always available, still has to be covered. Principally those bills cover that minimal amount,” explained Halliday.
The FTC’s ruling means that if the utility company breached any of the guaranteed standards under the mandatory guaranteed and overall service metrics implemented in January last year, customers should not expect to get any rebates.
Director of Utility Regulation Dr Marsha Atherley-Ikechi explained that after several rounds of discussions between the utility company and the FTC, the regulatory body determined that based on the state-owned entity’s financial circumstances, the BWA was in no position to pay.
“The regulation is such that it is dependent on and conditional on circumstances. I want to make that abundantly clear,” she said.
This morning Halliday noted that the BWA was still looking at the issue and did not rule out a future policy where customers are compensated for lack of service.
“The issue of considering discounting or even rebate, are things that have always been tabled in the past, they have been looked at in the past and they are still being looked at as we go forward,” he said
However, he pointed out that even though the BWA is unable to provide water through the customers’ taps, it still does so through other means and this too comes at a cost.
“What the Barbados Water Authority has been constrained to do is to make sure, in terms of delivering on its mandate, that even if we cannot deliver the water from the pipes, we try to supply in one way or another and we can only continue to ask consumers to continue to work with us as we do our best to try to make up for any deficit,” he stressed.