Water and sanitation Corporation (WASAC) has hired a debt collector to go after customers who are water bill defaulters.
Although WASAC management declined to divulge details of recovery process including the debt owed and the number of targeted customers, they are understood to be individual households, businesses and corporate customers whose unpaid bills were accrued between 2012 and June 2018.
Steven Kalisa, managing direct of Swift Consultant Group Ltd, which has been contracted to carry out the debt recovery, told Rwanda Today that while majority of defaulters were located in Kigali City all upcountry branches had customers with debts that have to be collected.
“For now I can’t tell the exact number of targeted customers and the value of unpaid bills because their data were not released to us in full. We place requests to WASAC based branches that we in-tend to cover,” he said.
“We have so far reached to 800 clients since we started in Kigali which account for over 60 per cent of WASAC total customers.”
WASAC had estimated the total outstanding debt owed by its nonpaying customers at over Rwf2 billion as at 2016. The debt, however, is estimated to have increased sharply to between Rwf5.7 billion and Rwf15.04 billion two years later, according to the 2019 report of the auditor general.
The audit showed that WASAC did not bill more 2,244 customers during the year ended 30 June 2018 while 2,169 customers were billed only for one month.
The audit found that estimated Rwf4.9 billion was incurred by the water utility firm to produce the water it sold to customers consuming without making payments.
Sources at WASAC said the debt recovery firm was hired after the usual mechanisms of enforcing payments at including disconnections from the service, and offer of flexible payment in installments yield fruits.
A section of the affected customers is also understood to have poked holes in the company billing systems citing cases of exaggerated bills but did not formally raise the issue with WASAC.
Wasac communications officer Richard Dan Iraguha referred Rwanda Today to Swift Consultant Group Ltd for all questions regarding the recovery of the debts when asked for comment.