By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
WATER PNG is owed K5 million in default debts for water supply in Lae city, it said.
With more than 10,000 customers in the country’s second largest city, a total of 3208 were disconnected because of non-payment of bills.
Manager customer services Herman Kagl said 85 per cent or perhaps more of the 3208 customers had illegal connections to have water running for five to six years.
“The worst parts of the city with illegal water connections are the Kapiak Street area in 1-Mile and West Taraka,” he said.
“For Kapiak Street and surrounding residents, only five houses are genuine customers, while for West Taraka, of the 277 customers, 56 are genuine customers. The rest use illegal means to get water from Water PNG.
“There are many parts of the city where people are getting water without making any payments or any attempts to make payments.”
Kagl said a team of plumbers from Water PNG were disconnecting supply to houses that had been illegally getting water for many years.
“We sent them notices during that period, and it was a long time that we have waited for them to come to our office and make payments,” he said.
“We are starting at the Salamanda area and we will work towards the Papuan Compound. For people who have been doing illegal connections, we will cut them off completely.
“For people doing illegal connections, the spot-fine is K2000 for domestic, and K10,000 for institutions and business houses.
“With the high number of illegal connections, we will try to be lenient to those people who come to our office and own up. We will charge them a fine of K500, and they will pay 50 per cent of the debt to have reconnection, and another 50 per cent through special payment plan.”
Kagl said the next move was to serve debt notices to illegal customers and summon them to appear in court, an exercise that would continue for the rest of the year.
He said Water PNG spent more than K300,000 a month to provide safe drinking water.
Salamanda resident Mary Solulu lauded the team for the exercise because many people were misusing water through illegal connections.
By EREBIRI ZURENUOC