BY ALFRED SASAKO
THOUSANDS of customers of Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA) trading as Solomon Water have been dealt a double whammy – an extra bill to pay in the event their accounts are disconnected and forefeiture of their initial deposit.
Apart from settling their arrears and reconnection fee, defaulters will now be required to put down a house deposit fee, according to documents sighted by Island Sun.
House deposit once upon a time only applied to new connections.
Now it appears that once an account is disconnected, the account holder has to pay a new house deposit, besides arrears and reconnection fee.
In one case sighted by Island Sun, the existing customer was told to pay $1,010 (one thousand and ten dollars) in new house deposit charge before his account could be reconnected.
The new charge has prompted a former Honiara City Councillor, Charles Lesimaoma, to demand an explanation from the Solomon Water management, saying such a huge outlay is not justified.
“The Management of Solomon Water needs to explain to its customers why it is putting extra financial burden, especially on families, who are struggling to get by,” Mr Lesimaoma said.
“The Management needs to explain this new charge.”
Lesimaoma said the new connection and reconnection fees are fair, but certainly not the new house deposit charge, when you are disconnected.
Island Sun was unable to get a comment by Solomon Water on Tuesday.