Water distributors in Metro Manila are pushing through with their rate increases this month but only to cover inflation and foreign exchange losses.
The second tranche of the approved rate rebasing adjustments due for implementation this year would remain frozen, according to separate resolutions signed by regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) last February 3.
Ayala-led Manila Water said it would add an average P2.27 per cubic meter, reflecting adjustments of 12.2 percent in the consumer price index and 1.03 percent in foreign currency differential. This translates to an additional P17 in the monthly bill of those consuming 15 cubic meters of water per month and P49 for those consuming 30 cubic meters.
Maynilad, on the other hand, said it would continue to charge its customers last year's all-in average rate, but subject to the 12.2 percent adjustment in the CPI or an average increase of P2.81 per cubic meter.
The adjustments in the two companies' rates were published in major dailies Thursday and would take effect 15 days from the date of publication.
They said low-income consumers using 10 cubic meters of water per month would not be affected by the rate adjustments.
MWSS said it gave the go-signal for the implementation of the inflation and foreign currency differential adjustments to allow the water distributors to continue to comply with their obligations under their concession agreements.
However, it said it decided to further defer the charging of rate rebasing adjustments to mitigate the impact of water rate hikes on consumers. Rate rebasing is a scheme prescribed by regulators that reviews the utilities’ spending program and the needed tariff adjustments for implementation over a five-year period.
Maynilad serves about six million customers in the west zone of Metro Manila while Manila Water has 5.6 million customers in the east zone.