MWSS approves hike in water rates

MWSS approves hike in water rates



WATER RATES in Metro Manila are set to go up starting in January, as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) approved the request of two water concessionaires to hike rates.

MWSS approved an increase of P6.41 per cubic meter for Manila Water Co., and a hike of P7.87 per cubic meter for Maynilad Water Services, Inc.

The rates will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Manila Water customers in the east zone who consume 10 cubic meters will pay P34.13 more every month, while those who consume 20 cubic meters and 30 cubic meters will see their monthly bills go up by P76.68 and P187.01, respec-tively. Low-income customers who consume less than 10 cubic meters will pay P2.96 more every month.

For Maynilad customers in the west zone, those who consume 10 cubic meters will see a P45.36 hike in their monthly bill, while those who use 20 cubic meters a month will pay P100.67 more. Maynilad customers who use 30 cubic meters will pay P205.87 more for their monthly water bill.

For Maynilad’s low-income lifeline customers who consume less than 10 cubic meters, their bills will increase by P4.74 every month.

“The reason for this (increase) is we adjusted rates by inflation. The rates rebasing was based on the 2022 value so it needs to be adjusted every year,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Lester N. Ty said at a media briefing on Wednesday.

Inflation averaged 6.2% in the first 11 months of the year, still above the central bank’s 2-4% target range and the full-year forecast of 6%.

Mr. Ty said the rate adjustments are a “necessary burden” to ensure that customers will receive proper service especially with the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is expected to be felt starting February.

The latest adjustment in water rates is the second tranche of the approved tariffs for the 2023 to 2027 period. Last year, the MWSS board approved the implementation of higher rates on a staggered basis for five years starting in January 2023.

“We did the tariff adjustments in tranches to ensure that the public will be protected and it will not be too burdensome to do it all in one go. And to ensure that Manila Water and Maynilad will be doing their capex (capital expenditure) rollout projects on time, and ahead of schedule, hopefully,” Mr. Ty said.

In a statement, Maynilad said that the tariff adjustment for 2024 is part of its five-year business plan approved by the MWSS last year.

“Together with our commitment to invest P163 billion in capital expenditure projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure of west zone is the staggered implementation of tariffs that is needed to continue these projects,” Maynilad said in Filipino.

“We are strictly monitoring to follow our commitments in the Business Plan that is why we are glad that the appropriate tariff is also being implemented,” it added.

Based on Mr. Ty’s presentation, Maynilad and Manila Water have already spent P11.28 billion and P16.65 billion, respectively, in capex as of October.

Currently, the two concessionaires are applying for the term extension of their respective revised concession agreements from 2037 to 2047 to coincide with their 25-year legislative franchises.

Mr. Ty said all the figures have been studied by the MWSS-RO “to ensure that this falls within the cap set by the UN (United Nations) with regard to the average monthly water bill of consumers.”

Manila Water serves the east zone network of Metro Manila, covering parts of Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, San Juan, portions of Quezon City and Manila, and several towns in Rizal province.

Maynilad serves the cities of Manila, except San Andres and Sta. Ana. It also operates in Quezon City, Makati, Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas, and Malabon. It also supplies the cities of Cavite, Bacoor, and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario, all in Cavite province.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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