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NEW DAWN – My leaky pipe

Dawn Morgan

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I AM GUESSING Dick Lowdown Hoad, and the usual gang of suspects are twittering at this stage (not to be confused with tekkie twits) at the headline.But sorry to disappoint you jokers. My pipe south of the border is still A-okay.I am referring to my pipe as in water supply to my home.My bill is usually in the range of $50 varying a little depending on if I am alone, or someone else is living in the building. So you can imagine my shock when I got a bill for nearly $400. for June/July!My contractor did a search and found a small drop of a leak right where the pipe is attached to the meter and fixed it.Good man. I can recommend him for any of you planning erections (raising buildings, you guys!) or renovations.I wondered if the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) would insist I pay all of the overflow, since it was directly at the joint?!After spending time frustrating myself on the “press-off” phone, I finally got through and was told “you have to go in and make arrangements to pay”.“But I paid $50. via SurePay even before I got the bill. Doesn’t that count for a down payment?”“No, you would have to pay at least $100 down and arrange to pay the rest.”So said, so done.I asked if the meter could be checked since while the leak would account for some increase, it seemed to be even Worser Dan Dat.Of course, I would be hit with a leaky pipe and a whopping bill while trying to survive an already challenging financial position.Then the Light & Power bill came in at about $40 more than normal. The fridge began making strange moans and then screamed at me, as it got hotter “It’s me! I need a fix.” Same contractor sent me a fridge repair man and he did a fast, good and reasonably charged job.Then I read The Lowdown headline of Friday The 13th, with Dick Hoad blazing Three Ms To Kill!Wuh loss!Fortunately, he was not planning Morgancide.I dared to exhale, having held my budget breath – because people who I trusted and helped out when they were scrunting would not pay me back. This followed difficulty breathing when sick in May/June, spending savings on private care after a nine-hour no-doctor, non-service ordeal at the QEH, abovementioned bills, and paying building insurance.Then I got a letter from the BWA, well into August, saying my June/July bill was way high and to check for a leak!Is this the 21st century? Somebody, pinch me!Can’t they ring you as soon as the measurement registers way above normal? The man sent to check the meter couldn’t find it and called me on my cell, so there is no doubt they had my digits!If the BWA is still following 1950s methods of doing everything by letters via snail mail, they really need to get with a swifter – Public Sector Reform – programme of phone communication. Then, if necessary for records, a letter.
• Dawn Morgan is a NATION senior reporter counting her many blessings, having too few coins to count. Phone 430-5495.