Higher water rates feared
MANILA, Philippines—Consumer advocates said water service subscribers may face higher rates, instead of a much-awaited cut in water tariffs, because the cost of the recently initiated arbitration process between regulators and a concessionaire will be passed on to and recovered from their bills.
Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Thursday held a protest in front of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System office in Quezon City to press for the implementation of rate cuts.
Bayan has been calling for the government to push through with the tariff reductions, which should have been effected by Oct. 1, and to not go into yet another arbitration.
According to the Water to the People Network, to which Bayan belongs, the regulator has gone through arbitration against concessionaires— which cost consumers a total of some P140 million.
On Tuesday, Manila Water Company Inc. filed a notice at the International Chamber of Commerce, disputing the decision of the MWSS.
The other concessionaire, Maynilad Water Services Inc., said it was preparing for a similar move.
The MWSS Regulatory Office denied the proposals of both utilities for rate hikes for the next five years.
Instead, it ordered a rate reduction of P1.48 per cubic meter per year for the next five years for Manila Water and P0.29 over the same period for Maynilad.
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