Pensioner shocked by $300,000 water bill

February 15, 2017
Ernest Sandcroft
Ernest Sandcroft shows his hefty water bill when he visited The Gleaner's North Street offices recently.

A pensioner from Portmore in St Catherine nearly fainted when the National Water Commission slapped him with a bill for more than $300,000.

Ernest Sandcroft, 72, told THE STAR that his water bill has been spiralling since November when he got a bill for $97,000.

"In December, they brought forward the $97,000 and the total amount was $291,000, and then for January it moved up to $340,000," Sandcroft said.

"When I got the bill, I couldn't talk for five seconds. I almost fainted."

Sandcroft said that when he got the first bill he went to the NWC's office in Portmore Mall to make an enquiry.

"I spoke to them and the lady gave me a receipt, and three days after she send a man to do an inspection," Sandcroft recalled.

"When the inspector was finished, he told me that there was no leakage, and I personally have not seen any water running anywhere."

The senior citizen said that there is no way he and his wife could consume the 291,000 gallon of water, the bill suggested that they used in the month of December.

"On December 20, they came and changed the meter and said that they are going to test the old meter."

Sandcroft said that since the installation of the new meter, his water consumption has gone back to normal.


Calls went unanswered


"I paid the last bill because it's my normal consumption, but now I am getting a letter saying that I have to pay the $340, 000," Sandcroft said.

THE STAR tried to contact the manager for the NWC's Portmore Mall office, but the calls went unanswered.

In a letter to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Sandcroft asked for speedy intervention as he is not in a position to clear the bill, and is scared that one day the NWC will cut off his water supply.

"My thing is that I am afraid that one day they will cut off the water, but it's impossible for a man on a pension of $2,821 per month to pay that," Sandcroft said.

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