The water authority was responding to an article freelance journalist Alfred Sasako penned in the Island Sun newspaper on Wednesday.
“That article was misleading,” General Manager Ian Gooden said in a statement.
He said the house deposit referred to in the article was not a new fee, but a current fee which has been in place for several years.
He explained this is being charged in the following situations:
- On application for a new water connection.
- Existing customers who have not paid initial House deposits.
- Customers whose accounts have been closed or disconnected due to unpaid water fees for a period of time. Standard practice and the exact purpose of the house deposit is that the deposit be used to offset the arrears. As the house deposit has been used for payment of unpaid bills, the customers will be required to reinstate their House deposit before re-connection can occur.
Mr Gooden said the complainant in this instance had never paid a house connection so falls into category 2.
“It should be noted also that after the complainant’s water was disconnected in 2017 for unpaid charges, an illegal connection was made.
“The customer only come forward to pay the account, including the House deposit, account arrears, illegal fee and re-connection fee when the illegal connection was disconnected by Solomon Water staff in June this year.
“To clarify, there is no new fee, the complainant has simply been charged appropriately in accordance with our fees.
“This was all explained to the complainant’s family member when the charges were paid, and had the complainant approached us, this could have been explained to him as well and an erroneous and defamatory article in the press avoided.
“Neither the Solomon Water executive nor the communications team from Solomon Water were contacted by the journalist for information on this issue.”
Mr Gooden said those who wish to complain about Solomon Water services are encourage to take their concerns directly to the organisation.
Solomon Water chairman, Phil Bradford also wishes to remind everyone that “those people who make illegal water connections and steal water from Solomon Water, are, in fact stealing money from the good customers who must be forced to subsidise this theft.”
Mr Bradford requested any person who is aware of an illegal water connection to report it to Solomon Water.