BVI News

Utility disconnections anger residents

File photo of linesmen working to restore power to a section of Tortola months following the September 2017 hurricanes.

BVI News understands some residents are frustrated because their electricity and water services have been disconnected due to lack of payment in recent times.

Among the arguments being cited against utility disconnections is the harsh economic climate that persists due to the impact of COVID-19. With the loss of jobs and the monthly obligation to pay rental costs, some residents believe they should be given time to pay outstanding utility bills.

READ: Consumers had received three-month amnesty on electricity payments

When BVI News contacted Utilities Minister Kye Rymer about the complaints from residents, he said: “The departments have been addressing based on the concerns.”

Minister Rymer did not confirm whether he has received numerous complaints from residents. But he said the government will be addressing ‘concerns that are genuine’.

“Wherever there are genuine formally registered concerns by the people of the Virgin Islands in the areas you mentioned, this government will ensure that these issues are addressed in a timely and amicable manner,” Minister Rymer said.

Residents have been complaining about the unkind treatment being meted out by some employers and landlords as COVID-19 continues to affect the territory.

Back in September, Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines called out these employers who have cut salaries in half, but still expect employees to do a full day’s work.

She called for landlords to be patient, adding that some are “cold, greedy and heartless” because they show no mercy to tenants who are facing difficulty paying their rent.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

41 Comments

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  1. Hard Times says:

    My land-lady – with her government job and paid holidays – insisted we continue paying the dish bill, even when we hadn’t worked for over a month due to lockdown. Absolutely no break from her.

    Perhaps I should add that she used a whole chunk of Irma money to upgrade her apartment. Did our windows that bust in hurricane get replaced? Hck no! Did she put shutters up on our windows? Hck no!

    She even complained when I mistakenly gave her 5 cents less than I should have for the dish bill.

    Her family name? I won’t go there!

    Like 23
    Dislike 14
    • hmmm says:

      Please don’t go there, as you are out of place. Landlords also have obligations that none of us are aware of.

      Like 19
      Dislike 39
    • @ Hard Times says:

      Chupessss. Times hard right? You don’t need any dish bill. Besides whatever the landlady does with her money is her business. Just pay the lady her
      five cents.

      Like 25
      Dislike 11
    • Be considerate says:

      What makes you think it’s hard times for you and not her? She sounds like she has more responsibility than you at this point. And your complaining about a Dish bill which is a luxury not necessity. You sound unfair. Give up the Dish if you can’t afgird it …. simple!

      Like 14
      Dislike 1
    • Hard times for Landlords too says:

      Instead of trying to shame your landlord, you should vacate her premises.

      While Government is telling landlords to be understanding Landlords’ electricity and water are being disconnected by those GOVERNMENT departments. in these hard times, the Electricity Department is now charging a $10.00 late fee, so Government is asking landlords to be lenient and they are hammering people, so landlords must let people live in their houses and they pay when they want to and if they want to but government is not allowing that type of behaviour. I find this rather interesting

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
  2. Come on guys says:

    There was a three month grace period. What I did was each month of the grace period I would pay at least $50.00 on my account to avoid this from happening. As long as you were paying something on your account they would have left you alone.

    Like 37
    Dislike 1
    • Exactly says:

      You have a lot of sense. Some people just have a wutless mentality. They don’t want to pay a dime, waiting on government handout.

      Like 29
      Dislike 2
      • @ Exactly says:

        Handouts are what they are seeking. They are your bills – your responsibility. How much more grace period you want? Like seriously!!!
        #CutThem

        Like 11
        Dislike 1
    • Thank you says:

      MY UTILITY BILL IS ROUGHLY $180.00 PER MONTH, WHEN WE HAD THE THREE MONTH GRACE PERIOD I COULD NOT PAY ALL THE BILL BUT I CONTINUE TO PAY AT LEAST HALF. ONCE THE UTILITY COMPANY SEE THAT YOU ARE PAYING SOMETHING ON THE ACCOUNT, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BOTHER YOU. COME ON NOW GUYS, YOU CAN’T GET ANGRY BEHIND THIS. TWO OF THE THINGS I FEAR AS A RENTER IS MY LIGHTS GETTING TURNED OFF AND EVICTION.

      Like 16
      Dislike 3
    • Interesting says:

      I am happy that you were able to do that because, they tell some people they cannot pay on account. the account must be paid in full.

  3. Mandatory Stimulus says:

    Essential utilities should be paid by government for those who own small businesses directly related to the tourist sector and those who have been laid off work. No business can survive without essential services. Electric, phone, & internet. With no money coming in the bills cannot be paid and the utilities will be shut. No government in the world should allow this to happen. Please Mr. Premier and cabinet do not let this happen to your people. We want to be ready when the tourist come back. Please help us and include this into a stimulus plan.

    Like 5
    Dislike 32
  4. Fact Check says:

    Yeah, but some of them have a $1000 phone.

    Like 39
    Dislike 2
  5. water says:

    mr rhymer YOU NED TO DO SOMETHING WITH WATERANS SEWRAGE IT SEEMS LIKE THINS IS NOT RIGHT THERE THEY ARE ONLY CUTTING WATER ROM PEOPLE WHEN THE FALT IS THEIRS A LOT OF LEAK LINES, IF SOME ONE OWE FOR WATER DO NOT CUT THE WATEEER LET THE PERSON OR PERSONS MAY A MONTHY SOME UNTIL THEY CAN CLEAR THE BILL IF THEY DO NOT PAY WHEN THIS OFFER IS EXTENDED TO THEM OVER A PERIOD OF TIME THEN CUT THE BINN OR WATER LINE, ST THOMAS DOOES NOT CUT NOBILL THEY GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO PAY O THEIR BILLS UNTIL IT IS COMPLETED OR ALMOST COMPLLETED.sOME PEOPLE HAVE I GH WATER BILLS DUE TO THE WRONG CONNECTION AND LEAKS ON WATER AND SEWRAGE PART, wATER AND SEWRAGE CUY WATER BILLS FOR SOME PEOPLE BUT THEIR BIG FRIENDS THE DO NOT CUT THE WATER A LOT OF SHIT IS GOING ON IN THAT DEPARTMENT SO MINISTER YOU NEED TO LOOK INTO WATER AND SEWRAGE. tHE HEAD GET RID OF STAFF WHO STAND UP TO THE MATTERS AND SHIP SOME TO ANOTHER WORK STATION BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE CROOKED NESS WHWT IS GOING ON BUT THE LORD IS HIGH AND HE LOOK OW, kYE CHECK INTO WATER AND SEWRAGE DEPARTMENT, I AM SO GLAD THET PEOPLE FROM TREASUARY COLLECTS TE MONEY, tHERE NEEDS A WHOLD NEW ADMINISTRATION STAFF WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOIG AND A HEAD WHO KNOWS ABOUT ENGNERING OF WATER NOT SOME ONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE ENNIGERING OF HOW WATER IS TO BE DONE, THE BILLING SYSTEM IS A PROBLEM YOU PAY A BILL OF LETS SAY 30 DALLORS WHEN YOU GET THE NEXT BILL THE SAME 30 DALLORS SHOWS UP ON THE PRESENT BILL THE WATER YOU ALREADY PAY FOR SHOWS UP ON THE PRESENT BILL SOME THING IS WRONG MR. MINISTER ROTATE STAFF MEMBERS AND SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN PEOPLE ARE TIRED AND COMPLLING ABOUT WATER AND SEWRAGE ES[ECIALL THE BILLING SYSTEM THE DEPARTMENT NEDS A NEW HEAD..

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  6. HEARTLESS STOOGES says:

    This is my situation. Unknowing to me BVIEC increased my deposit amount $400. They have my email, they have my telephone number, they have my mailing address, my physical address and my work address. Yet they choose not to inform me. However when I paid my recent bill online that payment was credited to increased deposit and my bill remained unpaid and was I disconnected 5 day after the due date of the bill. The lady informed me that she is working alone to get all the bills updated, she will reconnect me and everything will get it straighten out on my next bill. I check my bill two day ago and the new bill is there but there is no link to may the increased deposit they are secretly asking for. I still have not being told why I was not properly notified about the increase deposit. In this time of COVID the heartless BVIEC is increasing my deposit to twice my average monthly bill without informing me, even though I have no disconnection for the past 5years.
    This is the kind of abuse The Premier and SC needs to check into.

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
    • Keshia says:

      Wow I taught I was the only person telling me I see your bill is over one hundred dollars I have to add on your deposit BVI electricity that is how you making money on the people now sad

  7. Hold on says:

    Some of these tenants are complaining that they cannot pay the rent in full or on time but they have the most expensive phone, hairstyle, manicure and handbag. They are just willful.

    On another note, Water and Sewerage just ridiculous. Every time they decide to disconnect they do it all willy nilly. They do not care if you paid on your account two days before the disconnection date, they see they you are trying to get up to date but they do not care.

    Like 19
    Dislike 2
  8. LOL says:

    Good, this is what they voted for! The NDP would never do this to the people. Kye is not responsible for BVIEC, that is under the Premier like everything else. Micromanaging, dictatorship at play and sadly this is not even the worst of it. What they won’t tell you is that BVIEC cannot give residents a break because Government owes them millions and won’t pay. So the Premier got bodyguards, all elected officials got new jeeps while the regular residents have to carry BVIEC on their backs in hard times because Government won’t pay. But don’t you worry, this is all brought to you by the good lord and BVILOVE! Enjoy!

    Like 15
    Dislike 8
  9. Hmmm says:

    This is bvi love lol
    Where nothing is free
    But…..
    Some people/tenants who can afford to pay there rent and bills choose not to pay
    Then on the other hand there are some people/tenants not working since March and can’t afford to pay
    I had a three months grace period on electricity bill which I’m thankful for
    I’m not working so I try my best to use less electricity and water so I can pay the bills
    It get some people who choose not to apply for the three months grace period because of pride and the complaining
    The government need to work with the tourism industry workers that really need the help and not the greedy who can afford but choose to be selfish
    The landlords already greedy
    If ask me expats paying social security and tax here so the deserve to benefit some kind of assistance
    Most expats was told the are not qualified for social security that’s wickedness
    Everyday this island showing bvi love lol
    The hotel I work for close since March the get option to open since the government was looking for hotels to quarantine returning residents
    But my boss choose not to open cause the don’t care about there staff
    All those are the reasons why ppl can’t afford to pay rent and bills
    So all of it is not the government fault
    The government fault is he choose to keep the border close for 8 months claiming he protecting ppl from the virus
    On the other hand ppl can hardly get food much less rent and bills money

    Like 5
    Dislike 4
  10. Writing...... says:

    This is what happens when you elect INCOMPETENCE!!!!!! The Government down to the board are clueless.. Your Government is working for you, BVIEC isn’t playing with cutting your bills, so don’t play with them and PAY!

    Like 4
    Dislike 7
  11. Angry says:

    Lot of things anger me not able to afford basics even though I am working
    . Mark you I am not the kind of person who love Handouts I want to work and be able to take care of myself. Can you imagine working a full time job working like a Slave and still can’t even affor food much less a decent apartment to live in and almost at the retirement age.no savings I only had two kids and thought at least is only two so I could be able to take care of them but no many nights we go to bed Hungry and I have a job working full time. Slave wages is the norm how can we survive when we are overworked and underpaid.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
    • Be truthful says:

      With consideration , what kind of vehicle do you drive?, how often do you eat out
      ? How much partying you do?and are you one who must go out evenings and weekends?

      Like 3
      Dislike 4
  12. Listen! says:

    Just stop it, Landlords are not your parents, husband wife etc., why should they accommodate you and pay your dish bill? kmt

    Landlords worked hard to get their building up and its their investment, you need a place to live and they provide for a fee as agreed on your tenancy agreement.

    Landlords has more bills than you do so why should they give you free lodging??

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  13. Wow says:

    What chupidness I’m reading. So let other tax payers pay your Bill because you can’t but you ensuring you pay Netflix or satellite which is a luxury but you not handling the essential that is needed for the tv to work?

    I sympathize because we have those who genuinely can’t afford certain things. If you are in that situation go and seek help before it gets to disconnection.

    To those whose priority are messed up – stop taking advantage and blogging nonsense.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  14. Can’t Beat says:

    One Company you cannot fight and win is THE BVI ELECTRIC COMPANY, THEY ARE GOING TO GET THEIR MONEY ONE WAY OR ANOTHER OR ELSE YOUR LIGHTS IS GOING TO GET CLIPPED.

  15. lawyer says:

    Water and Sewage is the worst run utility. They don’t have the competence to manage the customers accounts. The only thing they know how to do is disconnect your water. Even when you pay, no apologies no consideration.

    I have been paying my account for months, then all of a sudden over $400 was billed to me in one month. The reason being they are catching up with revenue collection. The three months free water the government said we would get, I am paying for it and more.

    The other thing is the D******r is estimating your water charge without the benefit of your meter reading. Once the disconnection date for your area comes and your account has an outstanding amount, you are disconnected. Even if you cleared your account a week earlier. $20 is the reconnection fee. I was disconnected twice in one month!

    It is even a waste of time to complain to the department. Poor customer service and the staff is afraid to do their jobs…

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  16. Take de change says:

    However, not all landlords are cruel . There are some who have to wait on their tenants patiently for rent in order to pay their bills too. There are good people on both sides . However Govt needs to stop Electricity department from
    Adding additional fee when the bill is not paid on the exact date . That policy needs to go . Poor people, this is highway pressure .

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  17. Hmm says:

    I am not getting a penny from the covid relief and these hard hearted ppl cut my water. I have 2 kids with no portable water.

  18. Water staff says:

    Those people do not have a proper record I paid and now they cannot find my payments i lost my recepits.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  19. Anonymous says:

    Pay your damn bills. How can you be upset that your service is disconnected due to failure to pay. That’s just life if you don’t pay no matter the reason you get penalized.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
    • Hmm says:

      Not everyone is fortunate like you to have much money during this pandemic. I am a laid off mother with two school kids, I worked and pay my dues for over 14 years and i NEVER get a cent from the Covid Relief Package, how can i be able to pay my bills. You should give God thanks and praise every single day to be that furtunate to be able to pay all your bills in time. Hagd.

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
      • Anonymous says:

        With life you take the good with the bad. We all know how the system works. Nobody aint giving you anything for free. Things will het better with the right attitude and mindset. I was broke and unemployed at one point never asked anybody for a dime. I did what I had to do to get the most basic stuff that people take for granted. Government dont owe me a dime, Family didn’t owe me a dime. Get on your grind, hustle hard.

        Like 3
        Dislike 3
        • Remember says:

          Its not the same people cannot right now jump from one job to the next. Its not that people dont want to work. Its the pandemic. Its not that people are lazy sitting down and waiting for alms. People are wanting to go to work and paid their bills.

          Like 1
          Dislike 1
  20. Doh says:

    Your government. You voted them in. Socialism is now the norm with government run institutions that can barely operate. Sound familiar?

    Welcome to Venezuela north

    Carry On

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
    • @ Doh says:

      What was described is not “socialism,” but one does not have to be factual or even decent on these news/comments sites. Writing informed truth and facts have been replaced with alternatives facts, indecent, hostile, racial hatred and prejudicial assaults, among other these days.

      Sad to see the Virgin Islands have lost their virginity.

  21. Tricksy and dishonest Businesses.... says:

    Some of them never open or operate before the covid, yet they getting the biggest and first stimulus checks…Some of them naking millions before covid, then they are the first to lay off their workers ….Government need a business investigating task force to keep businesses honest,,,, most of them are using disasters to take advantage of their workers and the Govt..

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  22. Anonymous says:

    Relief needs to be given to people who needs it . Some of you are so callous because you still have a salary . As people we need to ask HOw can we fix this ? Love thy neighboring as yourself . Wait if tourist industry do not pick up
    Only some would survive . Politics does not feed empty belly . Loving
    People do

  23. My. 2 Cents says:

    I don’t want to be insensitive but…

    Do we realize that it takes money to run the BVIEC? If, on top of offering people a 3 month grace period that is extended further, how long do you think the organization will be able to pay the people that work there or afford the resources to keep it running.

    Its hard times for many of us, but we have to be reasonable and consider ALL sides of the story.

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