Even when utility bills fall behind, it may be possible to prevent a disconnection of service. There are several different methods for keeping utilities on even if a payment is missed.
The Barbados Light and Power Company Limited typically will alert each customer to a delinquent bill through a warning. If after receiving the notice the customer does not respond with a payment or a request for a payment plan, then disconnection of service may be ordered.
Any customer who is late on the bill can still make a payment through SurePay even if the account has been disconnected. Payments made are updated with the power company the same day.
Failure to pay the required charges will result in a disconnection of service. Even if the balance is paid in full, there is a possibility that the residential customer may be required to pay a security deposit prior to getting new service. This is true even if the person moves to a different address.
Residential customers who are delinquent on their electricity bill will be provided an opportunity to catch up on the arrears. If a reasonable plan is set up and adhered to, then the current will still flow. Further failure to abide by the negotiated repayment plan may ultimately trigger a disconnection of service.
What a payment plan essentially can do is to allow a customer to repay a portion of the arrears in addition to their regular monthly bill. The arrears can be spread out over one, two or even three months to allow for a less stressful repayment term.
To request a payment plan, customers will need to contact customer service at 246-626-4300. It helps to be able to explain any unusual circumstances that contributed to the delinquency. Most important though is a plan for how the arrears will be cured. Agents at the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited are trained to maximise the amount of payment that is received, while still taking into account any problems experienced by the customer. When necessary, they can work with a customer to provide a means for catching up the account and preventing a disconnection.
When water bills fall behind, a disconnection could occur. There will be a warning provided along with opportunities to cure the arrears before a designated cut-off date.
When we reached out to officials at the Barbados Water Authority’s Customer Service Centre, we were assured of their commitment to helping citizens keep their services connected. They released the following statement:
“In light of the current economical conditions, the Authority is prepared to offer payment agreements to those customers who are experiencing financial difficulties. We do encourage customers to visit any of our Customer Service offices to speak with a representative or supervisor. The offices are located at Coles Building, Probyn Street, Bridgetown or Building #3, Manor Lodge, Green Hill, St. Michael. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further queries.”
The Barbados Water Authority can work with residents who need a little extra time to pay their bill. There are a number of ways to accomplish this.
- First, each residential customer must contact customer service immediately to notify the agent that they are falling behind. While the customer service hotline is 246-434-4292, the Authority encourages you to make a personal visit. The agent will need to know the reason for the arrears in order to determine a proper outcome.
- Make at least a partial payment to show good faith. A reduction in the arrears and a recent payment are a sign that the customer can be trusted with an extended deadline.
- Negotiate an alternate arrangement. A payment plan could include spreading the arrears from the water bill over 2-4 months.
Failure to adhere to a payment plan could result in eventual disconnection of service. If this occurs, there are some nonprofit agencies that may be able to help cover a portion of the arrears to restore water flow.
There are a handful of aid organisations that can assist with delinquent electricity and water bills. Some provide direct cash towards a late bill to prevent disconnection.
Some charities provide support to those who are enrolled in job training programmes. Others focus on families with small children. Personal Financial Network focuses on making sure that we identify likely community partners that can help provide substantial funding for a family in need.