Puerto Rico power, water utilities to suspend service to customers in arrears
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s Electric Power (Prepa) and Aqueduct and Sewer (Prepa) authorities will begin cutting their services to delinquent customers in the coming weeks.
Prasa Executive Director Elí Díaz Atienza and New Progressive Party Rep. José “Che” Pérez urged customers of the public corporation to not only pay their bills, but also make sure their accounts with the utility include up-to-date information.
At a press conference, they spoke about the new process of planning, notifying and executing the suspension of service as part of the implementation of an amendment to Act 33, which was authored by Pérez. The legislation says Prasa must notify customers 48 hours in advance before suspending their service.
Over the next two weeks, customers who remain in arrears will be notified.
“As we mentioned several weeks ago, again, we urge our customers to update their email information and phone numbers related to their water bills so they can receive
notices regarding the status of their bill. This way, they will be able to obtain the updated detail about their accounts and avoid a service cut,” Díaz Atienza said.
“On February 22, the first notices will be issued to customers with delinquent payments through a telephone call system, text message and email. After 48 hours of the notice of suspension of service, if the client has not paid the bill, the service will be shut off. This means that by February 25, the first service cuts would be made,” he said.
Prepa also announced that in the coming weeks the corporation will start suspending service to delinquent commercial, industrial, residential, municipal and government agency customers.
Noriette Figueroa, Prepa’s director of customer service, said on radio that as part of the process, utility employees have been contacting customers, urging them to pay their bills.
Prepa said that the account receivables from delinquent clients totals $542.3 million. The public corporation has not informed customers that getting restoring service that has been suspended will cost residential customers $25 and up to $150 for commercial clients. Prasa, meanwhile, charges a reconnection fee of $50.
The vice president of the Electrical and Irrigation Industry Workers Union, Freddyson Martínez, said Prepa had already planned the service suspensions for some time but postponed them while it carried out a campaign to inform the public about the decision.