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Bill waiver to cost Manila Water P500M

Manila Water Co. Inc. expects this month’s voluntary bill waiver to shave off close to P500 million from its revenues this year.

According to Manila Water president Ferdinand dela Cruz, the waiver’s cost would exceed the initial estimate of P150 million mentioned when the program was first announced last month.

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The bill waiver is two-pronged. First, all Manila Water customers will not pay the minimum charge that represents the first 10 cubic meters consumed in a month. Second, those who experienced not having any water flow from their tap for 24 hours in at least seven days—whether consecutive or not—will pay zero charges for the whole month.

“The April billing period is not yet over and there are many meters that we have not yet read,” Dela Cruz said in a press briefing.

When asked wether this could reach half a billion pesos, Dela Cruz said the figure would hover around that amount but would probably be lower.

The company president also said that Manila Water’s main business—the East Zone concession with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System—now had an average supply availability of 20 hours.

“As of April 21, we have 99.8 percent of our customer base with at least eight hours of supply at ground floor level,” Dela Cruz said. “Also, 57 percent of our customers have 24-hour supply at 7 psi (pound per square inch) of pressure.”

He said the company was aiming to meet and even surpass by the end of May the regulatory standard of 98 percent of the concession area with round-the-clock supply at 7 psi.

On top of the voluntary waiver, Manila Water is facing penalties from the MWSS, which will be in the form of a rebate to customers.

The company is already able to cover about two-thirds of its supply deficit of 150 million liters daily—with 50 MLD coming from its recently energized treatment plant in Cardona, Rizal; 33 MLD from recently activated deep wells, and 11 MLD to 13 MLD from “cross-border” sharing with Maynilad Water Services Inc.’s newly activated Putatan No. 2 treatment plant in Muntinlupa City.

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