Water tariff hike ignores service improvement
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Friday, 27 November 2009

Kathmandu: Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) has hiked water tariff by 30 percent in the Kathmandu Valley ignoring the aspects of improving its water supply services. KUKL has hiked water tariff in the name of adjusting the increased cost of the company. The consumers have to face additional burden after the KUKL hiked water tariff without considering different conditions put forward by the Water Supply Tariff Fixation Commission for consumer welfare.

The commission has put forward the conditions of maintaining the quality of supplied water, reduce water leakage by 10 percent, collect tariff dues, install meters in unmetered connections within six months, disconnect all the illegal connection made from the trunk lines and then only adjust the tariff.
“But, the KUKL has hiked water tariff one-sidedly by neglecting the conditions,” said Ratna Sansar Shrestha, a member of Water Supply Tariff Fixation Commission. The KUKL has fixed the minimum volume of monthly water supply to 10000L at Rs. 55 even for dry taps. 50 percent tariff added as the sewerage charge in the existing water tariff remains the same. As such, the consumers have to pay a minimum tariff of Rs. 80 per month. Similarly, the KUKL is charging a monthly tariff of Rs. 70,590 for a maximum water supply of 18,10,000L which will come into effect from Mid-December.
“Water hardly gushes out once or twice a week but we are paying for 10,000 litres,” said Surendra Man Shakya, coordinator of Lalitpur Citizens Campaign adding, “Consumers are in additional burden after tariff hike on dry taps.” He said, “Based on KUKL's water supply and water consumption, this tariff hike has increased by five folds.” According to the experts, KUKL has hiked water tariff without increasing quantity of water supply but the company is already receiving 15 percent more revenue from the new 20,000 consumers added in the last fours years. Members of the commission have admitted that they have failed to reduce 40 percent leakage in the total water supply. Experts from water sector told that the KUKL collects 50 percent additional charge in the water tariff as sewerage charge but it does not do any works related to sewerage.
Rameshwor Shrestha, spokesperson at the KUKL claimed that the KUKL is working to implement the conditions set by the tariff commission. “We have started a campaign of collecting tariff dues from the defaulter consumers by waiving 90 percent in the late payment fine. We will cut off the connections if they do not clear their water bills within November 30,” said Shrestha, adding, “We are trying our level best to control leakages.”

Source: Nepal Samacharpatra, November 25, 2009