In Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua and Barbuda Public Utilities Authority, on Wednesday announced the start of the APUA Relief to the Needy programme as announced by Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne during his 2018 Budget presentation to parliament.
APUA released the Utility Relief Guidelines that will govern the conduct of the programme which runs from February 14 to May 18.
The Prime Minister reminded the public during his presentation, that sometimes making the choice between paying bills and meeting other pressing expenses is a tough choice, and his government recognizes this.
“We appreciate that there are many circumstances outside the control of low income, vulnerable and single parent households that can lead to non-payment of bills. These families should not have to be deprived of basic service indefinitely simply because of their socio-economic circumstances. Consequently, my government will provide relief to households where arrears led to disconnection of service.” The Prime Minister stated solemnly during the budget presentation.
Prime Minister Browne stated in order for persons to qualify for the electricity relief that their household would have to be without either electricity, water or telephone service for more than ninety days as of December 31st 2017.  He said persons in this category would have government writing off all arrears and once the reconnection fee is paid, the service will be restored.
To access this programme, members of the public who falls into the category should go to the Customer service department, APUA Business Center, 1st Floor, on Independence Drive.
APUA stated that “status of account, to date, must still be disconnected; arrears must have been accumulated on or prior to September 30th 2017 (at least 90 days disconnected in 2017). Account owner or approved designate (tenant, for example) must apply for the relief.
It must also be noted that only domestic/ residential electricity, water, and landline telephone services qualify for relief.
APUA also indicates that accounts with tampering charges are subject to further approval by business unit manager. Locations found tampering during reconnection phase will not be reconnected, but will be subject to further approval by the Business Unit Manager.
The 2018 budget also lists other social relief and assistance programmes in an effort to provide a prosperous and resilient economic environment for Antiguans and Barbudans.
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