(QCOSTARICA) The ‘gambetto‘ didn’t pay off. The long list of complaints forced the Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) – the national water utility – to adjust the May billing, and the reduced bill will start on Monday, June 22.
The utility, in a statement, announced that the May billing was an accumulated consumption of the last three months (March, April, and May), not taking into account the users had paid the average amount billed in March and April.
The error comes from the fact that meter readers were no working for the month of March and April, in May the data entered into the system reflected the real consumption for the three months, not taking into account the averaged payment made for the first two.
That is, since the last time your water meter was read was in February, in the May reading, the consumption billed was from that reference point.
In a “hypothetical case” the AyA published their explanation on its website:
“In a house, 20 cubic meters (m3) of water was consumed in March and 20 m3 in April by the estimation method. In May, when the actual reading is applied, a consumption of 75 m3 is read on the hydrometer. This amount is a cumulative of what was consumed in 3 months, since the last reading. However, the consumption in May was 35 m3.
“When applying the new apportionment, it is recorded that the family consumed 25 m3 in March, 25 m3 in April and 25 m3 in May. Since only 20 m3 were invoiced in April and 20 m3 in March, an additional item will be applied in July and August to collect the 5 m3 left from each one.
“For its part, the new invoice for May will only be for 25 m3, so it will have to be reduced by the corresponding amounts to 10 m3, since the original invoice in this period was issued for 35 m3.
“In this way, the consumption ranges for March, April and May would remain within the first and second price scale of the tariff and the exemption in the collection of VAT would be maintained.”
According to the above, the May billing will be the average consumption of March, April, and May, which implies a decrease in the amount billed. In those cases where the Value Added Tax (VAT) was billed due to the high consumption reading, that too will be adjusted.
Important that the adjustment will be made automatically, so there is no need for the user to file a complaint or join the hundreds who have lined up outside the AyA offices opened on Monday to deal face-to-face with user complaints.
“Both the adjustment to billing and the VAT will be made automatically, so there is no need for the user to carry out any formalities with the institution or with the Ministry of Finance (for the VAT),” the utility assured.
The adjustments in the amounts will begin to be reflected starting Monday, June 22 for users who source the metropolitan aqueduct (that is the Greater Metropolitan Area), and starting Friday, June 26 for the rest of the country.
Do not pay just yet
The advice is not to pay until you see the new amount and that it has dropped to a level based on your consumption history. You can see your new bill here or on your bank’s online bill-paying app.
If the amount has not dropped or still too high, you should then file a complaint either by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 800 REPORTE (800-7376783); or in person. On Monday, June 22, the AyA will open more of its offices to respond to users.
What if you already paid the May bill?
Users who paid the May bill, that is the overbilled amount, the AyA will not issue a refund, but rather a credit note for amount over the adjusted amount, that will applied to future billings.
If you paid, you should pay close attention to your July and August billing in particular.
A bunch of Tico Bull
To save face, the AyA blames the overbilling to hand-washing measures due to the COVID-19, children and adolescents at home from school and the staying at home recommendation by the Ministry of Health.
And oh, year, the added water consumption due to the dry season.
“During this calculation period, in most cases, actual consumption was (after reading) higher than estimated. The possible explanation for this result is associated with an increase in consumption as a result of the adoption of hygiene measures by COVID-19 (hand washing), teleworking and the stay of student children and adolescents in their homes (due to the suspension of the classes), to which is added the growth of water consumption during the dry season,” assures AyA.
Did my articles of May 30 (from the historical to the hysterical) and June 13 (What a total load of “TICO BULL”) have an effect? I would like to think so. But more importantly, I thank all those who sent me an email or commented on the Q’s official Facebook page.