Parallel to his pledge to make Antigua and Barbuda a green energy nation, Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne on Thursday announced that his government will wipe off arrears to families whose utilities have been disconnected for non-payment.
In the Budget Statement, Prime Minister Browne said that his Governmentrecognizes that for some households, there are times when a choice must be made between paying the utility bills and meeting other pressing family expenses.
He said that this most often resulted in the disconnection of water, electricity and telephone service to homes; and families left without, what his Administration considers basic needs.
“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 a 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,” he said.
“If, as at December 31, 2017, a household has been without either electricity, water or telephone service for more than 90 days, the Government will wipe-off the arrears and, once the reconnection fee is paid, the service will be restored,” outlined Prime Minister Browne to thunderous applause from members in the gallery.
PM Browne noted that the relief programme is for households and will take effect from February 14, 2018 and will run until May 18, 2018.