1,600 families may lose water access as company cannot pay power bills

By Ngoc Oanh   November 10, 2023 | 02:00 am PT
1,600 families may lose water access as company cannot pay power bills
A man from Gia Lai's Chu Se District pours clean water out of a container into another. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Tan
Around 1,600 families in Chu Se District of the Central Highlands' Gia Lai Province may lose access to clean water as a water plant cannot pay its electricity bills.

Le Vinh Thinh, general director of the Chu Se Water Supply Company, on Thursday said the company owed VND83 million ($3,411) of electricity bills for September and October, and was unable to pay.

The Gia Lai Power Company has notified that if the bills are not paid by Friday, electricity for production will be cut.

This is the second time that the power company requested the water firm to pay its bills. Back in September, electricity was supposed to be cut for the water company, but the deadline was extended thanks to intervention from the provincial People’s Committee.

Besides unpaid electricity bills, the company owes over VND154 million worth of taxes, and its account has been frozen by tax authorities.

Thinh said the firm was met with challenges due to production and business not going as planned. Before 2018, investors spent VND200 billion building the water plant for around 8,000 families in the district. However, only 1,600 families agreed to purchase water from the firm.

"The people do not have the means to use tap water, and so they use well water. This is the main reason why the company is losing money," Thinh said, adding that ever since its operation, the company had been losing VND500-900 million a month and had to sell properties to make up for the losses.

The company also owes its employees’ salaries for prolonged periods of time, and owes insurance of about VND600 million.

"We can no longer borrow money and our properties were all sold, so we are asking for the province and the district to help us," Thinh said.

The Gia Lai People's Committee has requested the power and water companies take measures so that people’s lives are not affected.

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