Water hike looms amid weak peso

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office warned that the deteriorating value of the Philippine peso could trigger an uptick in water rates by as early as next year.

MWSS RO chief regulator Patrick Lester Ty said the effects of the weakening peso on water rates are likely to take effect immediately by January, but stressed that the agency will try its best to “minimize” the impact of the impending price hike by implementing a staggered payment in the next five years.

In November 2021, the MWSS removed the Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment from customer bills of Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Service Inc., which were converted into “transitory adjustment.”

The FCDA is a quarterly-reviewed tariff mechanism that enables concessionaires to recover losses or give back gains from the movement in foreign exchange rates. The water concessionaires pay for foreign currency-denominated loans, which they use to finance their respective expansions and operating expenses.

In a related development, the MWSS RO said Maynilad needs to pay P9.26 million in penalty after breaching its service obligation.

The agency, through RO Resolution No. 2022-12-CA, asked the west zone concessionaire to pay the fine for the continued water service interruptions within the Putatan Water Treatment Plant supply zone.

The said penalty will be implemented in the form of bill rebates to affected Maynilad customers by November.

Apart from this, the MWSS RO also directed Maynilad to fast-track the implementation of its proposed mitigating measures to address the declining raw water quality in Laguna Lake and ensure the continuity of water supply within its Service Area.

As per its agreement with the government, Maynilad has to ensure the availability of an uninterrupted 24-hour supply of water in parts of Las Piñas City, Muntinlupa City, Parañaque City and Cavite Province.

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