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Latino Daily News

Friday May 17, 2013

Puerto Rican Gov. Mansion, La Fortaleza, Has $30,000 Water Bill

Puerto Rican Gov. Mansion, La Fortaleza, Has $30,000 Water Bill

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The $265 million Puerto Rico’s heavily indebted state-owned water and sewer authority is trying to collect from customers includes $30,000 due from La Fortaleza, the official residence of the island’s governor.

La Fortaleza ran up an unpaid bill of $60,000, but the figure was cut in half as part of a broader collection plan initiated in January, AAA chief executive Alberto Lazaro told WKAQ radio Thursday.

AAA expects the governor’s mansion to settle the bill in July, he said.

Last Friday, the AAA terminated water service to the city hall in Arecibo after the municipal government rejected a plan to pay off its $1.5 million debt to the water authority.

Arecibo and the AAA later came to an agreement and the service was restored.

Starting in August, the AAA will cut off non-paying residential customers in Puerto Rico’s public housing complexes, Lazaro said last week.

Residents of public housing currently pay a fixed monthly rate of $19.76, regardless of how much water they use.

The AAA plans to boost water rates by an average of $20 a month.

Several scheduled rate hikes were postponed during the 2009-2013 administration of Gov. Luis Fortuño and the state Development Bank assumed part of the AAA’s $340 million debt, effectively postponing the crisis.

Besides its high indebtedness, the AAA is plagued by extensive loss of water due to deficiencies in the system.