APUA Tightens Screws

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Further signs that Antigua Public Utilities Authority’s (APUA) financial constraints are untenable materialised this week with two announcements – one public and the other internal – that will have serious impact on customers.

A print advertisement on Monday thanked the public for participating in the 10 per cent discount programme and advised people “to take advantage of the final opportunity during the month of October.”

The announcement included a vague promise that APUA will work “in the near future to provide similar incentives for prompt paying customers.”

That communiqué was coupled with a notice to APUA cashiers that the practice of reconnecting accounts upon receipt of 75 per cent payment would be discontinued as of October 7. Customers with interrupted services are now required to clear their arrears in full.

Yesterday, APUA General Manager Esworth Martin confirmed that while the discount programme resulted in savings for residential and commercial customers who cleared their electricity bills before the due date, it taxed the APUA coffers.

He said the statutory corporation lost $31 million over the last three years and $6 million alone this year.

“It’s just not prudent for us to continue this indefinitely … it had to come to an end,” Martin said of the five-year-old programme.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)