Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is taking a firm stance on debt recovery to ensure it can continue to pass on efficiencies to customers paying their fair share. Unpaid debts lead to larger revenue requirements and can therefore unfairly burden customers who do the right thing.
GMW works with customers who need help paying their bills and has a multi-phase debt recovery program, which includes various options for customers experiencing financial difficulties. Most customers use these options if needed, but some have been in debt for a prolonged period or have neglected to seek help paying their debts.
To prevent these customers inflating costs for those paying their bills, GMW has sent long-term debtors a letter of notice informing them it will take legal action if they do not pay debts or enter into a suitable payment arrangement. GMW Business and Finance general manager Michael Gomez said these customers have had many opportunities to pay their bills.
“Where customers are experiencing financial difficulties, we work with them to find a solution. Our customers are always offered discounts for early payment, instalment options and customised hardship plans,” he said.
“We make every endeavour to contact customers through reminder notices, phone calls, letters, emails, SMS and in person. If the customer has still not paid, we suspend their supply and contact the customer again to try to make arrangements for payment of outstanding debts. If there is still no arrangement, we will take legal action.
“The overwhelming majority of our customers do the right thing and pay their bills. GMW has a responsibility to these customers to keep our business sustainable, and debt recovery is a crucial part of this.”
There has recently been plenty of good news for these customers. GMW recently released its 2022/23 Price List with an average price rise of just 2 per cent, well below the Consumer Price Index increase of 5.1 per cent. This follows an average price drop of about 10 per cent in 2020/21.
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