No CWSA billing for 3 months for volcano affected communities

By Demion McTair. Updated 5:18 p.m., and 9:13 p.m., Wednesday, June 2, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Persons from communities severely affected by the volcanic eruptions will not be billed for solid waste and water supply services, for three months.

At a press conference on June 2, 2021, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), Mr. Garth Saunders said the measure is part of the CWSA’s Volcanic Customer Relief Measures which were approved by its Board of Directors.

He said that for “severely affected customers, those on the Leeward side from Belle Isle to Richmond, and on the Windward side from Byrea to Fancy” there will be no billing for the months of April, May and June.

Mr. Saunders said the CWSA is taking the measures because they recognize there has been “loss of services”, a “need for clean up” and “we understand that disruptions have caused financial implications”.

The volcanic relief measure for customers in communities severely affected by the eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano will see the CWSA losing $784,000 in revenue, Mr. Saunders said.

This loss of revenue will be an additional cost to the CWSA which has been extending benefits to customers since 2020, to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CWSA’s CEO, Mr. Saunders said that the state-owned company has so far, for 2021, “extended” $102,000 in customer relations for March and April to CWSA customers.

In December of 2020, some $157,000 was “extended” to water supply customers.

He said that the state-owned company has seen a decline in revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic period, in which the company has had to provide relief to customers.

He said that the overall revenue for 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, was 29.6 million dollars. This fell by $1.2 million in 2020 to $28.4 million dollars.

Mr. Saunders said the company is “projecting that for 2021, we would be at the same level”.

He said the company made a surplus in 2019 but more or less broke even in 2020 due to customer relief measures and expenses.

“We are all in this together and we have to share the burdens,” Mr. Saunders said.

He said the company needs revenue, but at the same time, it understands the needs of the customers at this time.

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