“They have been stealing me but they say I’m the stealer” – WASCO investigates Reduit customer’s complaint

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“They have been stealing me but they say I’m the stealer” – WASCO investigates Reduit customer’s complaint
Juliette Jn Baptiste, also known as Madame Sequin. * Video image/HTS
Juliette Jn Baptiste, also known as Madame Sequin. * Video image/HTS

(SNO) – The Water and Sewerage Company Inc. (WASCO) has launched an investigation into the issuance of high water bills to a customer in Reduit, Gros Islet.

WASCO Communication and Marketing Officer Cherry Ann Williams made the disclosure to HTS in a news report.

According to the report, Juliette Jn Baptiste, also known as Madame Sequin, complained about receiving water bills ranging from $600 to close to $1,000 for her residence, even though her guest house has been closed for the past 11 years.

The Reduit resident compared those bills to her monthly utility bills which average about $60.

Jn Baptiste told HTS: “I have been going to WASCO and crying… begging them to find out… why am I getting that kind of bill from them and the business is closed, and they can investigate it. It’s long that business is closed. Might be they not listening to me, but is true. I am going and paying the bill, they giving me time to pay it. I paying all the bill, yet still the place is still closed. Sometime in January, February, I get a bill for six, five hundred and something dollars. I go to them and I tell them the place closed, might be the meter have a problem. They tell me if the meter have a problem, and I still getting water in my pipe, I must be stealing water somewhere else. I say there is no place around this area for me to steal people water, and you insulting me.”

She added: “I went with the bill to them again. I paid the cheque, they tell me I give them a bounce cheque. I didn’t give them a bounce cheque. That day I was sick. I went in the office, I paid $640-something on a cheque. I tell the lady I cannot well see, I did an operation in my eye, can she write the cheque for me. She write it wrong. The place she had to put the money, she put it another place, and the name of WASCO, she put it another place, so the cheque go back to them. Then she tell me I have to pay $50 because the cheque come back. I say why. I will have to go to the bank to see what going on. When I go to the bank, I take statement and thing like that, I see the money come out from my account. I still go back and I pay a $601.40 something for WASCO again for the same month, and they still complaining, they come and cut the water.”

According to HTS, Jn Baptiste claimed that she had even been threatened with arrest.

“When they come here and cut the water, the pipes were closed. The meter is closed, my pipe is closed. Nobody not using water there. When I come to clean the place, I have water in the drum. Rain water that’s what I does use. And God seeing I talking the truth. May the blood of Jesus come down, is the truth I telling WASCO. Please, I doh want to have their money, I doh want to steal them, but do something for me please, because I need help. They have been stealing me for a long while, and they saying is I, I’m the stealer. I never steal nobody. I am working for the poor. I am not a rich person, I am trying.”

The company had told HTS that while they investigate Jn Baptiste’s complaint, other customers with similar issues are to visit the company’s offices.

(7)(3)

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Saint Lucians now are speaking fluent "FRENGLISH". How nice!

    I welcome the day when we will stop having the so-called educated Creole linguistic experts fade away, and have less influence on our spoken English.

    Our dumbed-down population do not seem to know that we have to speak creole as creole, and English as Standard English.

    Imagine that. Vieux Fortians are now saying "He reply me". Not "He replied to me".

    Up there in the story, we now have "They have been stealing me" and not that "They have been stealing from me".

    (1)(1)

  2. The person who told her she stealing water should be sent hime. The person who threatened her with arrest should be sent home. Not saying she is right but still don't treat her so.

    (3)(0)

  3. Please find someone whom you can trust to write your cheques next time. If you cannot trust them,why go so far as to letting a worker write an amount that you are unable to see?
    All the best with your dispute.

    (1)(0)

  4. I had the same experience. we were getting a regular water bill and out of the blue for two month we got one bill for $1100 and another for $1,500. when we go to WASCO they say it will be investigated. they came check the meter and said the meter good so we have to pay. And the only thing they can do is give a payment plan or else they will cut the water. And what gets me most upset is that the bill jumped from $60 to $1000 plus a month and the staff pretending like thats not alarming to them as far as they are concerned is pay or get cut.

    (7)(0)

  5. Wasco's bllng system sucks. A meter is given to everyone, you suppose to pay water based on your water consumption for the month . Some persons are overcharged while some are undercharged. I know individuals who has meters , use water like it's nobody's business and yet still pay a flat $14.70 or $24.95 while some persons hardly get water in their pipes and are charged outrageous amounts. Wasco will always be in debt because their system sucks. My mom gets water every Sundays for a few hours yet she is slapped with a bill every month. If you don't take a stand with Wasco, they will walk over you. A few years ago they wanted to change the office staff, because they didn't want to pay better salaries. They fired a good bit of the office staff claiming that they stole from the company. Wasco had no evidence. All the charges were dismissed after two years, going up and down to court, no evidence could have been presented. Not a word from the Media concerning this. The individuals should have sued the government , but we're in sweet St.Lucia, where everything gets swept under the carpet. Wasco get your act together.

    (9)(0)

  6. Good luck with your fight. When these utility companies get it wrong, customers are on a hiding to nothing because, there is no impartial agency to turn to for redress.

    Look around your vicinity, are there any pipe leaks, are they on your property, close to your meter. Can someone redirect some of your supply for their use? Can you read the water meter and compare previous bill to get some understanding of your consumption?

    An elderly pensioner who normally has a monthly water bill of under $100 was sent a bill 15 times that amount which is equivalent to running a hotel with a swimming pool. WASCO insisted that was the correct amount and put it down to pipe leaks on the premises, wastage caused by faulty plumbing – taps leaking, and a continuously flowing water closet. Some of these problems did occur but found it incredible that it was to the tune of $1500! The pipe supplying the property also had a leak but WASCO did not take responsibility for fixing the leak on the grounds that it was just before the water meter and the responsibility of the customer. They made a slight reduction but the hefty bill still had to be paid.

    (4)(0)

  7. I had a similar situation with Waco until I asked to speak to the manager. Some of the workers at Waco think is everybody that stupid and illiterate. Woman stand up for your rights. If you don't crapot smoke your pipe

    (19)(1)

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