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CWSA/SWMU issues final notice to pay up environmental fee

CWSA/SWMU issues  final notice to pay up environmental fee
An employee of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority / Solid Waste Management Unit preparing to remove a derelict vehicle from a site in the Grenadines

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Final notices are being issued to residents and businesses in the Grenadines who have not made environmental fee payments for the year 2018 and have once again started accumulating arrears.

The notices are being issued by the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) / Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) which earlier this year zeroed the balances accumulated up to December 31, 2017 of all residential and commercial customers in the Grenadines and kicked off a fresh public awareness campaign. 

A message from the CWSA/SWMU published on social media said “… In accordance with the amended Environmental Health Services Legislation passed in August of 2016, unpaid environmental fees in the Grenadine islands of Bequia, Canouan and Union Island can and will lead to the disconnection of your electricity supply. This is your final URGENT reminder to pay all outstanding balances in order to avoid the DISCONNECTION of your electricity service.”

The CWSA said this latest public relations campaign is aimed at “heading off any action on the part of VINLEC” on customers who refuse to pay the environmental fee and whose arrears are in excess of eight months. 

The total arrears now stand at over $100,000 so far for 2018, the CWSA said.

In March 2018, the CWSA announced that Grenadines customers whose solid waste disposal payments were in arrears would have them forgiven. It was also announced then, that going forward, in order to ensure that residents receive their solid waste disposal bills in a timely manner, the bills will be distributed simultaneously with electricity bills, effective March 1.

General Manager of the CWSA Garth Saunders said in March that bills will be due after 30 days and after 60 days, customers will be subject to have their electricity disconnected. He said the CWSA will do everything to alert persons about the possibility of disconnection, but customers do not have to wait for the bill to know what is due, since the fee remains constant at $10 per month.

“We have been very patient with residents in the Grenadines and have been assisting customers in dealing with queries over the past 10 months. We have also continued with our environmental responsibilities; collecting white goods and derelict vehicles on the islands and providing the twice a week collection service.

We are hopeful that greater compliance will be achieved and that the CWSA would not have to instruct VINLEC to take what would easily be considered an unnecessary action resulting in unnecessary inconvenience,” the CWSA said in a release yesterday.

The release said the CWSA presently spends over $120,000 a month in environmental services in the Grenadines and invoices one-third of that and currently gets paid 47 per cent of that up from a 10 per cent figure in 2017.

In August of 2016, the Parliament of SVG enacted legislation effectively appointing the St Vincent Electricity Services (VINLEC) as agent for the Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) for the collection of environmental (waste collection and disposal) fees and empowering them to disconnect the electricity supply to residents whose environmental fees remain unpaid in excess of 60 days.

On mainland St Vincent, the CWSA has been the appointed agent for the SWMU since 1998.

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