Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cabanatuan water rates increased by 16%, affect 34,000 consumers

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – The Cabanatuan City Water District has increased water rates among residential and commercial establishments in the city by 16%, affecting 34,557 consumers with service connections.

          The rate hike is in line with efforts by the CCWD to generate funds to finance an expansion program of the CCWD, said general manager Mario Villasan.

          Villasan clarified that the latest tariff rate is actually not a a new rate increase as the management only implemented the proposed sets of tariffs approved during a public hearing in June last year whose implementation was held in abeyance for more than a year because of the opposition made by affected sectors.

          “Basically, the 16% increase in water rates does not constitute a new increase since we only enforced the prescribed rates which were approved during last year’s public hearing,” he said.

          In fact, he added, what the CCWD only implemented was the water rate for 2012 with the approved rate for 2013 still to be implemented.

He said they actually tried to implement it in the past but decided to suspend it due to numerous complaints. “It (new rate) was long overdue actually,” he said.

          In the hearing, held on June 27,2012, the approved water rates would be implemented in four tranches. The 1st one involving a 16% increase would take effect in September 2012 while the next tariff adjustments would be implemented in September 2013 (17.7%), September 2015 (5.3%) and September 2017 (8%).

          Based on the water rates, residential and government establishments using the smallest meter of size ½ will be levied a service charge of P192 for consumption of up to 10 cubic meters while a size 4 meter will have a service charge of P13,824.

For the same smallest meter connection, a commodity charge of P21.60 will be collected for consumption of between 11-20 cubic meters, P23.80 for 21-30 cubic meters, P26.40 for 31-40 cubic meters, P29.60 for 41-50 cubic meters and P33.70 for consumption ranging from 51 cubic meters and above.

          For commercial establishments using the smallest meter, the service charge ranges from P240 to P384 and commodity charge of between P27 to P43.20 for consumption of 11-20 cubic meters, P29.75 to P47.60 for 21-30 cubic meters, P33 to P52.80 for 31-40 cubic meters, P37 to P59.20 for 41-50 cubic meters and P42.15 to P67.40 for consumption of 51 cubic meters and above.         

          The series of rate adjustments would affect consumers in 67 of the city’s 89 barangays, 90% of whom are residential.

          Villasan said the  rate adjustments are fair and reasonable and affordable to low-income groups. He stressed that the CCWD will still have the lowest water rates among “Category A” water districts which refer to WDs with consumers of 30,000 and above.

          “We will be at par with the Angeles City Water District with the second lowest water rate in Central Luzon, lower than the rates of Mabalacat and San Jose del Monte,” he said.   

          Villasan said that the tariff adjustment was necessary to enable the CCWD to tap fund allocation for new water sources, raise additional budget to cover price changes brought by inflation, address the decline in water sales due to the lowering of water consumption, expansion of water services to 21 additional barangays and compliance with the Clean Water Act.

          He said the expansion of services include construction of pumping stations, pipelines and service area connections for unserved barangays, infiltration wells, district metered areas, climate change adaptation measures and the establishment of a clean water plant by 2014.

          The clean water plant (CWP) project, he said, will serve as a refilling station in the unserved barangays not covered by the expansion. He added that a pilot CWP has already been constructed in Barangay Bagong Sikat and is now serving quality water for P15 per gallon of container.

          In pursuing a set of tariff adjustments, Villasan said the CCWD has complied with the requirements set forth by the Local Water Utilities Administration which prescribed that in determining the water rate, it must not exceed 60% of the existing minimum and commodity charges and it must not exceed 5% of the minimum charge for residential connections with the smallest water meter. (Manny Galvez)          


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