WATER Authority of Fiji customers now have an extra month to apply for a water bill waiver.
This extension was announced by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday.
The waiver program launched by Commodore Bainimarama in October was due to end on New Year's Eve, but now householders have until January 31 to apply.
Commodore Bainimarama said after Cyclone Evan destroyed the homes and livelihoods of many Fijians, he did not want them to have the added concern of meeting the December 31 deadline.
"We want all those who were scrambling to meet the December deadline to have one less thing to worry about over this holiday season," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama encouraged all eligible Fijians who have not yet applied to make use of the extra time.
He said his government had given more than $13million to the program, and he wanted to make sure the full amount was used.
So far, there have been almost 1000 successful applications, and a total of $2,615,000 in water bill arrears has been written off.
The Prime Minister said there was still more than $10 million available for deserving Fijian families.
Fijians are reminded there are specific criteria that will be used to assess applications.
These criteria are as follows:
* Customers experienced leakages in their water pipes and/or taps;
* Customers recently had their bill amount raised after being undercharged for a long period; and
* Customers received a first-time bill for accumulated usage over the years
Schools and religious organisations that have accumulated arrears prior to 2010 — before WAF was established — will also be eligible under the program.