Thursday 2 July, 2020

OUR approves multiple bills from NWC under special circumstances

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has, through a directive, granted permission to the National Water Commission (NWC) to issue multiple bills in a single billing cycle, but only under exceptional circumstances.

These special instances relate to reconnections, replacement of customer meters, requests by customers for readings, and any other circumstances approved by the OUR.

NWC customers should otherwise not receive more than one bill per billing cycle.

The new directive becomes effective on March 5.

Failure by the NWC to comply within the time specified will render the commission liable to prosecution pursuant to the provisions of sections 9 and 10 of the OUR Act.

The OUR’s recent decision follows a directive it issued to the NWC on March 31, 2017, which instructed the NWC to cease and desist from dispatching multiple bills in a billing cycle, and instead, issue a single bill per billing cycle.

The OUR instructed the NWC then, that where readings are obtained subsequent to an estimated bill being generated and dispatched, any adjustment is to be applied to the account in the next billing cycle.

In response, the NWC indicated that such a limitation would negatively impact the handling of ad hoc billing after routine activities, which include, but are not limited to: reconnections, meter change outs and requests for customer readings, such as in cases where customers are moving from the premises.

Based on that feedback, the OUR modified its 2017 directive to allow for the exceptional circumstances provision.

The OUR has advised customers who receive multiple bills in one billing cycle, in instances outside of those listed above, to contact its Consumer Affairs Unit immediately.


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