Water Authority owes nearly $500K overdue Electricity bill

CUC billing error continued unnoticed for seven years

The Caribbean Utilities Company has presented a bill for nearly half a million dollars to Water Authority-Cayman. 

The $487,283.78 bill for the electricity account at the Grand Cayman Wastewater Treatment Plant was run up between December 2004 and May 2011 
because of an ongoing billing error that was discovered for seven years, minutes of the Water Authority board meetings have revealed. 

According to the minutes of an 18 April meeting, CUC agreed to accept payment of $417,997, which represents the outstanding amount for the period between April 2006 and April 2011, to be paid in 36 monthly instalments. That offer, put forward in a letter from CUC’s lawyers at Appleby, was only open until 20 April. 

Water Authority board members say they will not be hurried into making a decision over paying the bill. 

“Although there is no dispute whether or not the authority used the electricity, the authority’s position is that there should be some limitation on how far back CUC can go to correct their errors,” the minutes stated. 

One board member suggested that the Water Authority should contact the Electricity Regulatory Authority regarding the extent of limitations regarding errors. 

“The authority is of the opinion that this has been outstanding for a long time and does not deem it necessary to be rushed into a decision by CUC’s legal team. The authority is working toward an equitable solution, but that may take some time,” the minutes continued. 

The Water Authority’s lawyers at Mourant Ozannes responded to CUC’s demands for payment of the outstanding bill. 

According to the minutes, the large bill came about due to a mistake with CUC’s billing multiplier. A billing multiplier is a number by which the meter reading is multiplied by to arrive at actual consumption in kilowatt hours. 

Asked to comment on the billing error and any arrangements that had been made for the Water Authority to pay the bill, the electricity company responded: “CUC does not discuss details of customers’ bills.” 

The Water Authority-Cayman board members say they will not be hurried into taking a decision over paying the bill. 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Why should the Water Authority have to pay for CUC incompetence. Yes of course they used the electricity but they paid in good faith. CUC should eat the bill. Of course they will increase our bills to cover the cost.

    How do I know they are billing me correctly?

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  2. We know that there is a reluctance to compare the CI with the UK, but having had a similar experience there, the ‘error’ in my case could only be backdated for the previous 12 months. This was according to the Agency’s OWN regulation, even though the ‘error’ was for the previous 5 years.

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  3. It’s not the Water Authority’s fault the company made a so called mistake. Time has run its course and a small settlement should be worked out. 100,000 is all they should get and please fit the complex with solar panels.

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  4. Their mistake, it should be their loss. It’s ridiculous that after all these years they would rush the
    Water Authority who obviously have been paying the bills regularly. It’s high time CUC got some competition.

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  5. I have a question will the water authority be paying interest or a late payment ? If not then stop charging us alate fee or interest on payments to utilities. We understand you are not making enough money to pay your bills theres a recession. We sympathize for you .
    Now my fellow company falling on hard times …………………WHAT ABOUT US??

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  6. Romany, do not be afraid of making comparisons with the UK because they are often valid.

    Some years ago my Mother (who sadly passed away this February) lived in a property with two mechanical electricity meters – one for the main supply and one for off-peak heating.

    The main one jammed but it took nearly a year and three visits for the supplier to discover the problem. Mum had paid virtually nothing for power over that period but the company involved accepted liability and wrote off any losses.

    CUC, there’s a basic rule of thumb in life – you screw up, you pay for it. If I was the Water Authority I wouldn’t give CUC a penny.

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  7. I wonder if the bill was presented in a comically large style – like one of those outsize cheques you see being given to a charity. That would be fun, and would help alleviate the awkwardness of presenting a bill for such a large amount.

    If CUC get tough, then WA should disconnect them – see who flinches first, a Water Authority without power, or CUC without water!

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  8. I am almost certain that for CUC, it is not a lost. CUC is automatically adjusting the oil price to cover in full, any spendings. The amount due from water authority will only be an additional gain and will not be use to cover any lost.

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  9. Doesn’t the Water Authority charge its customers a fee based partially on the cost of electricity? If so, will they be refunding the money to all of us who have faithfully paid our bills…and this ‘fee’ was pocketed by the Water Authority? Just wondering how it all works….

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