Mzuzu residents to demonstrate on Thursday against Northern Region Water Board

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Mzuzu residents will hold demonstrations Thursday to protest against the Northern Region Water Board (NRWB).

This follows complaints by people in the city that the board has been overcharging them.

According to the residents, NRWB customers who usually pay bills of up to K10,000 were suddenly being asked to pay bills ranging from K50,000 to K60,000.

“Northern region water board is killing us. K60,000 water bill,” said one resident.

Meanwhile, the board has confirmed that it has been overcharging customers saying the overbilling emanated from the migration to a new billing system.

“The main issue is that we have migrated to a new billing system with the aim of improving the billing system. But as is the case with new systems, challenges have been observed which we are working tirelessly to resolve.

“The main challenges include high bills for some customers as well as some customers being credited with amounts which they did not pay. Most of these have now been resolved,” said NRWB public relations manager, Edward Nyirenda, said.

He added that the new billing system has also resulted in failure to show deductions of previous payments made by customers, inflating their bills in the process.

On the new billing system, Nyirenda said the board is procuring 15,000 prepaid metres in phases under the Malawi NRWB Water Efficiency Project which is financed by the European Investment Bank.

“In the first phase, we are expecting 8 000 metres, 5 000 metres from the project and 3 000 metres from the water board’s own resources before end of November, 2019.

“We expect installation to start in December 2019. 5 000 will be installed in Mzuzu while the 3000 will be installed in our other [water] schemes. Take note that Mzuzu constitutes half of our total customer base,” he said

Meanwhile, the board has apologized to the affected customers and has pledged to resolve the issues by December this year.

The board has also assured customers that it will not carry out a disconnection campaign until all issues are resolved.

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