beaten! This is how the hoteliers and merchants of San Antonio del Táchira feel, because the receipts from Hidrosuroeste are arriving for the order of 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 Colombian pesos (equivalent to 326 and 436 dollars), but the water It hardly comes twice a month.
By Anggy Polanco / La Patilla Correspondent
That is why the union of hoteliers in this border town filed complaints with the Ombudsman’s Office, given that Hidrosuroeste (government owned water utility in the region) does not provide a solution to the supply of either the water supply or the high cost of the service.
Hotel owners have invested to build large water storage tanks, which are often not filled with mains water supply but by paid water tanker trucks, so they can receive their customers.
The filing of the formal complaint was announced by Anggie Nieto, a member of the local Chamber of Hoteliers, who indicated that despite the fact that they have filed complaints before the Táchira Regional Hydrological Office, they have been ignored.
On the contrary, each month the water bills come in ever increasing amounts.
Ms. Nieto pointed out that this situation is a very hard financial blow for the commercial sector of the border at this time. Instead of increasing the flow of Colombian guests, these have decreased, because the brothers from the neighboring country are afraid of coming to Venezuela and being extorted by the public force (police and military).
She explained that small commercial premises are receiving water bills of over 800,000 Colombian pesos (about 175 U.S. dollars), which they consider to be exaggeratedly expensive since this makes it very difficult to invest in the area because they must not only pay public services, but also rent, raw supplies and personnel.
The prices of electricity bills have also risen considerably and blackouts in the area do not stop.
They must have combustion motor driven electricity generators to avoid inconvenience to guests.
This irregularity has been occurring since November 2022, stated several residents of San Antonio that were consulted, and permanent rolling blackouts also affect residential areas.
“From December to January failures doubled, and the most serious thing is that there is no water. The mains water arrives only every 15 days. First, amounting to about 450,000 Colombian pesos, then the service climbed to about 900,000 Colombian pesos. And from 900,000 it went up to 1,850,000 pesos,” explained another hotel service provider.
Anggie Nieto considered such increases an abuse, when the reality is that San Antonio’s business is still down.
“They (government) should not come here to exploit the people who are still betting on the border,” said the businesswoman.