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NWC commits to improving service delivery

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — Vice President, Investments and Performance Monitoring at the National Water Commission (NWC), Vernon Barrett, says the agency intends to expand and improve service delivery to customers.

It is for this reason, he said, that a tariff increase is being sought to allow for continued investment in the company's infrastructure in a bid to improve its water and wastewater service provision.

“We need to have the revenue to sustain our operations and to increase available cash…. Certainly, we want to make our operations more efficient. By being more efficient, it means that the operating cost would be minimised,” he noted.

Barrett was speaking at a public consultation on the NWC application for a tariff increase, held at the Knockalva Technical High School in Ramble, Hanover, on Tuesday.

The session, hosted by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), was the fourth in a series being held across the island for the public to hear the reasons for the rate application and garner feedback.

NWC is requesting a 23 per cent average increase in water charges and a 38 per cent average increase in sewerage charges, which would result in the typical household seeing a five per cent increase in their water bill.

The last tariff review was granted to the NWC in 2013.

Barrett pointed out that the cost of operations comes from the money collected from billing customers, “and the level of the tariff should be sufficient to cover the operating expenses [and] put us in a position to repay the loans that we take out to carry out projects”.

“The tariff that we are asking for must be reasonable; persons must be in a position to pay,” he added.

He noted that the Commission has invested some $30 billion over the last five years on projects islandwide.

The residents, for their part, pointed to the need for the NWC to improve service delivery, and said that any increase should be performance-based.

“We are saying to the NWC, while we understand that it takes money to operate, it must be on a performance-driven [basis], and every single NWC customer should have been benefiting,” said Lecturer at the Knockalva Polytechnic College in Ramble, Wynter McIntosh.

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