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

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2019   •   204

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)  

Water-intensive facilities get enterprising amid water service interruptions

Maris Federez   •   October 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The rotational water service interruptions scheduled by water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, had started in several areas in Metro Manila, Cavite and Bulacan at dawn on Thursday (October 24).

Maynilad and Manila Water adopted the said measure following the continuing decrease of the water level in Angat Dam.

Read: Maynilad warns of possible water service interruption in coming days

Alongside the residents stocking water for their daily use, owners of water-intensive facilities, such as laundromats and car wash centers, get enterprising to go on business as usual.

Laundry shop crewmembers say water service interruptions create big impact on their business as they need to adjust their operating hours in cases when their stored water in their water tanks would not suffice.

“Halimbawa nung nakaraan ang tubig bumalik siya ng alas tres na ng hapon, so off kami sa umaga tapos mag-oopen kami alas tres na or dos na ang opening namin” Nida Dagtan, a laundryshop staff said.

She also said water service interruptions affect their salaries as daily income wagers, particularly when they have to close their shop earlier than the usual time.

A carwash shop owner, meanwhile, said they have to store water in every way and containers they can so as not to have shortage during business hours, to the extent of securing rainwater catchments.

“Nagsasahod kami sa ulan para dun sa mga lower parts ng sasakyan dun namin ginagamit para makatipid kami ng tubig,” said Regie Echano, a carwash shop owner.

He added that on average, they can service 40 vehicles a day that’s why it is imperative that they have enough stored water.

Water refilling stations, on the other hand, would store water in two large tanks to ensure that they can service their clients even with the shortage.

“Pinupuno na po namin yung tangke para kapag walang tubig, may handa kami. May pambigay sa customer,” said Welmer Estanel, a water refilling station crew.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB), however, advised the public to store water just enough to get by during the hours when the water supply is stalled.

This is so that Maynilad and Manila Water will not run low of water supply very quickly that would result in longer hours of water service interruption.

Based on Maynilad advisory, the areas they cover will experience around 8 to 18 hours of no water services; while Manila Water’s scheduled water interruption in the areas they cover will happen for four to eight hours.  (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

Angat Dam water level continues to drop

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 24, 2019

The water level at Angat Dam continues to drop from 186.23 meters on Wednesday (October 23) to 185.87m as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday (October 24).

READ: NWRB to reduce water allocation for irrigation in Bulacan, Pampanga

Due to this, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is aiming to cut water allocations. According to NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr., they want to manage the water supply in case the water level will not reach 212 meters by the end of the year.

“In order to manage iyong supply ngayon just in case na hindi ganoon ka-favorable iyong mga rainfall na darating sa Angat watershed (In order to manage the current supply in case there will be no favorable rainfall at Angat watershed),” he said.

According to PAGASA, rainfalls are still expected in Angat Dam area before the end of the year.

“Pagpasok ng November may mga dalawang bagyo tayong inaasahan diyan (By November, we are expecting two more typhoons),” weather specialist Edgar dela Cruz said.

The NWRB said they plan to conduct cloud seeding operation but that will only slightly increase the water level at Angat Dam.

Meanwhile, the NWRB will launch a campaign for responsible water consumption by November.—AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Rotational water interruption to begin on October 24

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2019

By Mietzekatze on Pixabay

Water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, will implement rotational water interruptions beginning on Thursday (October 24) due to the low water level at Angat Dam.

As of 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday (October 23), the water level at Angat Dam dropped from 186.46 on Tuesday (October 22) meters to 186.22 m.

The water concessionaires already announced the areas which will be affected by the rotational water interruption on their official Facebook page.

According to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Chairman Reynaldo Velasco, they want to avoid the water crisis that happened in the previous months.

“Baka wala tayong tubig sa summer kapag hindi nagdagdagan iyong Angat Dam, so parang iyong measure is to lengthen the capacity of Angat to be able to supply until summer ulit and then hoping next year wala nang El Niño (We might not have water supply in the summer if the water level in Angat Dam does not improve. So the measure is to lengthen the capacity of Angat to be able to supply water until the summer. Hopefully, next year there will be no more El Niño),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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