MWSS Chief Regulator: No power to punish Manila Water over supply woes

Robie de Guzman   •   March 18, 2019   •   2416

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said on Monday (March 18) that it has no power to punish the Manila Water Company, Inc. even if it violated its obligation to provide uninterrupted water services to its consumers.

“Based on the terms of concession agreement, Manila Water has violated their mandate to provide 24/7 water,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said during a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Metro Manila Development on Monday.

However, Ty said the MWSS has no power to hold the water concessionaire accountable because the concessionaire agreement provides no penal provision authorizing the Regulatory office to impose any fines.

“What will happen is that we can take this up in the fifth rate rebasing, which will happen in 2022,” Ty said.

“That is why the MWSS has been repeatedly requesting Congress to petition for a Department of Water and a water regulatory commission to allow the imposing of these fines and penalties,” he added.

The MWSS chief regulator’s statement was in response to some solons’ call to penalize Manila Water over the water shortage that hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal Province for more than a week now.

Caloocan 2nd District Edgar ‘Egay’ Erice said Manila Water should have sounded the alarm over the looming water shortage in eastern Metro Manila since the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued an El Niño advisory as early as January this year.

“Kung sensitive kayo sa problema ng mga consumers nyo, dapat January pa lang humingi na kayo ng tulong,” Erice admonished.

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, on the other hand, contradicted Ty’s statement, insisting that the MWSS has the authority to punish Manila Water.

Tinio cited Section 10.4 of the Concession Agreement between the MWSS and Manila Water Company, Inc. which states that “failure by the concessionaire meet any service obligation which continues for more than 60 days (or 15 days in cases where the failure could adversely affect public health or welfare) after written notice thereof from the Regulatory Office to the Concessionaire shall constitute a basis for the Regulatory Office to assess financial penalties against the concessionaires.”

“The amount of such penalty shall be equal to 25% of the costs that, in the reasonable opinion of the Regulatory Office, the concessionaire will incur in order to meet the service obligation in question; provided, however, that if the Concessionaire does not meet such service obligation within 180 days, the amount of the penalty shall be equal to 50% of such costs,” the contract read.

“Napakalinaw po ng sinasabi dito (kontrata). Ang sabi n’ya (Ty) kailangan pa tayo maghintay ng rebasing ng kanilang rate in five years bago masingil ‘yung penalty. Napakalinaw dito na after 15 days, kung di pa nila maayos, pwede na kayo mag-impose ng penalty,” Tinio said.

“We will revisit that again,” Ty said in response to Tinio’s prodding, arguing that the penalty could apply on the next rate rebasing in 2022.

To address the issue, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said there might be a need for a new law that would give more authority to MWSS to punish erring concessionaires.

“Perhaps in the law, we have to add a penalty for those who failed to comply with some parts of the concession agreement,” Arroyo said.

Manila Water President Ferdinand dela Cruz, meanwhile, expressed willingness to face penalties and all the responsibility for the ongoing water shortage in eastern Metro Manila.

“Whatever the accountability for this issue takes me as President of Manila Water, I am willing to take that accountability,” he said.

Cruz also assured that consumers hit with water interruptions will soon find relief as their water supply continues to increase.

However, he said the water supply is expected to go back to normal by the month of May. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Grace Casin)

Maynilad reduces hours of water interruption in affected areas

Marje Pelayo   •   November 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Maynilad customers can relax a bit as the water concessionaire announced shorter hours of water service interruptions.

Maynilad said recent days of rainshowers helped in replenishing water supply in Ipo Dam.

“Twenty percent of our customers have interruptions of about 8 to 10 hours. But that is starting to reduce because of the rains that came in but we don’t know for how long again,” explained Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez.

Around nine million households in the West Zone of Metro Manila depend on Maynilad for water supply especially if water supply becomes thin during the dry season when Angat Dam fails to replenish as predicted by the state weather service PAGASA.

According to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), they just limited the allocation so as not to deplete the supply in Angat Dam.

“Wala naman tayong (There is no) water crisis. We are just making sure that water crisis last March will not happen anymore,” said MWSS Administrator Emmanuel Salamat.

Meanwhile, the MWSS is pushing measures to protect Laguna Lake from pollution.

“We have just proposed protection and preservation of our Laguna Lake and declare it as a vital source of our domestic freshwater supply,” Salamat said.

So far, Maynilad has treatment plants that generate water from Laguna Lake and supplies to 310 million liters of water daily to its customers.

According to Fernandez, Laguna Lake can produce the volume of domestic water being supplied by the Angat Dam.

Laguna Lake is over 90,000 hectares in area which is larger than Singapore.

“To my mind, Laguna Lake is the biggest body of water that can supply Metro Manila and even the surrounding provinces like Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal,” he explained.

According to Maynilad, though Laguna Lake is used for fishery, it should primarily serve as a source of water for domestic use. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

MWSS says Manila Water, Maynilad not allowed to pass on penalties to consumers

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Friday clarified that Maynilad and Manila Water are not allowed to pass on to consumers any amount of financial penalties that the Supreme Court imposed for violation of environmental laws.

The Supreme Court earlier imposed more than P900 million fine for each concessionaire, as well as the MWSS, for their non-compliance of the Clean Water Act over their failure to put up sewage lines and sewage treatment facilities in the previous years.

They were also ordered to pay a fine of P322,000 per day for every day of their non-compliance with the Clean Water Act.

“The agency reassures the public that financial penalties imposed by the SC may not be passed on to consumers. It is clearly provided for in the concession agreement,” MWSS chief regulator Patrick Ty said. The SC in its decision last August also ordered the MWSS to pay a fine for the violation.

The MWSS made the statement following reports that water rates will increase as a result of the SC ruling.

Ty assured that whatever additional costs that concessionaires will bear in order to comply with the high court’s ruling will not be passed on to consumers until the next rate rebasing.

“We also audit them and we also engage a third-party audit firm to audit the books of the concessionaires to ensure that they will not be able to recover this expense,” he said.

The chief regulator, however, said that whatever prudent and efficient expense that concessionaires may incur in completing facilities and building of sewerage treatment plants in compliance with the court’s ruling may be passed on to consumers but only after the next rate rebasing in 2023.

“We can also do an expiration payment. that means the two concessionaires would be able to recover the said expense at the end of their concession terms instead of a having it increase, a sudden increase in the water rates,” Ty said.

“’Pag hindi po to prudent and efficient, hindi po ito papayagan na ipasa sa publiko,” he added.

Rate rebasing is done every five years. It is a review of the water utilities’ past performance and projection of their future cash flows to set the water rates at a level that would allow concessionaires to recover their expenditures and earn a rate of return referred by the concession agreements as the appropriate discount rate.

Manila Water on Friday clarified that the company never stated it will pass on fines to consumers, adding that the 780-percent increase included in its motion for reconsideration against the ruling “is what it would have cost to build wastewater facilities to comply with the Supreme Court Decision subject of our Motion for Reconsideration.”

Maynilad and Manila Water have filed separate appeal in court. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)  

No water in parts of Metro Manila, Imus on August 6 to 7 – Maynilad

Robie de Guzman   •   August 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Parts of Metro Manila will experience water service interruption from August 6 (Tuesday) to 7 (Wednesday), Maynilad Water Services Inc. announced on Thursday.

In a series of advisory posted on Twitter, Maynilad said the scheduled temporary water disruption will affect consumers in Caloocan, Manila, Malabon, Navotas, Las Piñas and Imus City in Cavite.

Below are the list of affected areas and their scheduled service interruption:

MALABON (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay Longos (along Dagat-Dagatan Ave. from Lapu-Lapu Ave to P. Aquino Ave., along C4 Road from Lascano Street to Pampano Street)

NAVOTAS (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay Bangculasi
  • Barangay North Bay Boulevard
  • Barangay San Rafael Village

CALOOCAN (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay 12
  • Barangay 14
  • Barangay 20
  • Barangay 28
  • Barangay 31
  • Barangay 35

MANILA (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay 124 to 127
  • Barangay 129 to 146
  • Barangay 177

MANILA (from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay 67
  • Barangay 74
  • Barangay 79 to 83
  • Barangay 85
  • Barangay 93 to 112
  • Barangay 116 to 119
  • Barangay 122
  • Barangay 128

LAS PIÑAS (from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay Manuyo Uno and Dos
  • Barangay CAA
  • Barangay Talon Uno and Dos
  • Barangay Pulang Lupa Dos

IMUS CITY (from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday)

  • Barangay Anabu I-A to Id and I-F
  • Barangay Bayan Luma I to IX
  • Barangay Bucandala I to V
  • Barangay Carsadang Bago I and II
  • Barangay Malagasang I-A to I-D and I-G
  • Barangay Poblacion I-A to I-C
  • Barangay Poblacion II-A and II-B
  • Barangay Poblacion III-A and III-B
  • Barangay Poblacion IV-A to IV-D
  • Barangay Tanzang Luma I to VI
  • Barangay Toclong I-A to I-C

The west zone water concessionaire said the water interruption in parts of Caloocan, Manila, Malabon and Caloocan is due to the relocation of a 3.6 feet by 2.5 feet-diameter water pipeline to give to way to the construction of the Skyway Project along C3 Road between A. Mabini and Dagat-Dagatan Avenue in Caloocan City.

The scheduled water disruption, meanwhile, in other parts of Manila is due to the installation of flowmeter at Radial Road 10 in Tondo; while the service interruption in Las Piñas and Imus City is mainly due to the repair of the Automatic Transfer Switch of Pagcor pumping station in Parañaque City.

For customers who have inquiries, Maynilad may be contacted at its hotlines 1626 (Metro Manila) and 1800-100092837 (Cavite).

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