Why are customers’ meters not read on occasion?
There are a number of factors which can impact the Authority not getting meter readings. In the case of no readings this is primarily due to: i) Access to the meter being obstructed (e.g. by garbage, animals or bush) ii) Meter inside fence or guard wall iii) Meter covered (e.g. by sand) iv) Meter buried v) Difficulty in locating meter In these cases the Authority will:
- Prepare correspondence which is sent to customers advising them to clear meters
- Initiate internal processes to make the meter accessible; for example; if the meter is inside the fence and cannot be accessed then a request is made for the Distribution Department to reposition that meter on the outside. Requests may also be made to clear buried meters or turn the dial to facilitate reading. An inspection is conducted to determine and correct the difficulty.
- Estimate the customer’s usage and issue an estimated bill.
N.B: It is a customer’s responsibility to keep the meter clear and accessibl
Why do some customers get abnormal readings which result in high bills?
Abnormal readings resulting in high bills may be an indication of one of the following: i) Customer has a leak in the system ii) Reading has been recorded incorrectly iii) Unnecessary use or abuse of water iv) Water theft In these cases the BWA will take the following actions:
- When an abnormal reading is noticed, an attempt is usually made, by phone, to contact the individual. Failing that, an inspection is carried out and the customer is advised by letter of the high usage.
- If the reading is recorded incorrectly, the correction is made through a credit adjustment to the account.
- Customer is advised of option to have meter tested if he/she is sure that there is no leakage or other usage.
Why do customers receive bills after the due date?
BWA has made all attempts to streamline the billing process, by implementing the following system controls:
- Meter readings are done and bills are processed based on these readings. The bills are processed 2 days later
- Bills are then printed the following day, separated and submitted to Post Office within 3 days
- The Due date is 21 days after bills are processed.
For example: Meter read date: 2009-11-01 Bill date: 2009-11-03 Post Date: 2009-11-10 Due Date: 2009-11-24 Please note : Customers are billed according to the meter reading recorded on the meter. Also to be noted is the fact that after an estimated bill the usage recorded when the meter is read may appear to be excessive but in actual fact represents more than one month’s usage.
Why are letters from customers not acknowledged and responded to within a reasonable time frame
The BWA receives a great deal of correspondence and although attempts are made to responded in a timely manner in all of the cases, research needs to be done and this may involve obtaining information from more than one department. BWA is however seeking to implement a system to update customers on the status of their queries.
Why should a customer pay $57.50 to test a meter which belongs to the BWA?
It is the policy of the BWA that the party requesting the test must be prepared to bear the full cost of testing. Of course, where the test is found to be necessary (faulty meter) the money will be returned to the customer by credit to the account.
Why are BWA plumbing bills issued so long after the service was installed?
The BWA (Water Services) Regulations require the Authority to base its charges on the actual cost of work executed. To arrive at the actual cost requires collating information from three separate units (viz. Distribution, Stores and Payroll) of the Authority and vetting the final figures before the bill can be sent to the customer. This process can be time-consuming because it is manual system.