Citizens who have always paid their water bills in a timely manner seek explanations. However, the company’s response is vague
According to the Veolia Djur water supply company some Yerevan residents are in arrears with their water bills. However, people who have been paying for the company’s services on a monthly basis can’t figure out where these debts came from. They received the outstanding debt notifications upon payment of the previous month’s bill.
The post office staff in charge of accepting utility payments told Lragir.am that almost all the subscribers are in arrears.
People were told at the post office that those debts accumulated on the account of the former service provider ‘Yerevan Djur’ Co. The latter was replaced in 2017 with the Veolia Djur company, which currently manages the drinking water supplies in Yerevan and which insists that all debts should be paid off.
The post office staff recommended subscribers not to hurry with paying their bills until it becomes clear what bills they are dealing with. Murad Sargsyan, a spokesperson for the Veolia Djur company claimed in turn that all the debts should be paid. He, however, didn’t specify what measures the company was going to take against subscribers who refused to pay.
Sargsyan explained how those debts emerged:
“The Veolia Djur Company has been operating since 1 January 2017. Before that there was the Yerevan Djur Company, which operated under a lower tariff system of AMD 170. The Veolia Djur company has set higher tariff of AMD 180. On 31 December 2016, the Jerevan Djur Company inspectors failed to record meter readings from all 350 000 subscribers. They conducted routine inspections, but when making calculations they indicated the calculation period from the date of the last inspection at end of 2016 until the first inspection in 2017. Therefore, in 2017 we developed special software and recorded all the meter readings, redid the calculations and obtained those results.”
Yerevan residents expressed their discontent through social media. Here are some of their Facebook posts:
“If there is anyone who understood the explanations offered by the Veolia Djur Company, let him explain it once again. It’s not the first time they are acting this way, we are already sick and tired of these tricks.”
“We aren’t going to pay, that’s it.”
“Come on folks, it’s yet another act of racketeering. They pretend to be innocent, as if nothing has happened. However, the explanations they offer us are illogical and unreasonable. What they do is illegal, it’s just fraud. The competent authorities, especially the prosecutor’s office, should launch an investigation into this case. It’s outright robbery.”
“Those debts have accumulated since 2017. When asked they tell you that you aren’t the only one who has arrears. They assure you there is no need to worry as they will reduce all your debts to zero. Now it’s clear how they are going to zero them out.”
Babken Pipoyan, Chairman of the Informed and Protected Consumer NGO stated that the Veolia Djur company should publicly apologize to its subscribers and clearly explain the reasons why this problem occurred.
“In spite of everything, the consumers should pay [for services] only once. They can’t be required to pay twice. Furthermore, in view of certain technical problems that may emerge during the partial transfer in the course of regulation of legal relations, it should be ensured that the consumers’ rights are not affected and that they don’t pay twice,” the consumer rights defender believes.