MANILA - A consumer group on Thursday insisted water rates should go down due to lower inflation, but the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) thinks otherwise, as the regulatory office announced there would be no disconnections until end of September.
Laban Konsyumer asked MWSS to order water concessionaires to bring down rates due to inflation, saying that because inflation went down to 2.4 percent in 2019, water rates should go down beginning January 2020 - P1.05/cubic meter for Maynilad and P0.86/cubic meter for Manila Water.
Laban Konsyumer president Vic Dimagiba said the reduction will help consumers cope with the higher-priced goods and the negative impact of COVID-19.
Dimagiba said even if the scheduled increases in water rates for this year were suspended by the concessionaires, it is not a reason to also suspend the reduction due to lower inflation.
But MWSS chief regulator Patrick Ty said Dimagiba's computation is incorrect.
Ty claims it does not automatically follow that if inflation is down, there is a corresponding reduction in water rates.
What Laban Konsyumer should focus on, MWSS RO said, is on the mounting number of complaints against water concessionaires.
Ty announced that there will be no disconnections until end-September.
According to Ty, consumers should settle their quarantine bills from March-June first and if they cannot afford to pay everything by end-September, they should sign a promissory note with their concessionaire.
Ty advised consumers to leave the July and August bills unsettled first as these can be settled at a later date.
But if a consumer questions a bloated bill, he should first seek a remedy from the concessionaire and if not satisfied, he can elevate the issue with the MWSS-RO. While the matter is being investigated, the consumer is not obliged to pay the questioned bill.