JIS News

The National Water Commission (NWC) is pursuing several initiatives aimed at plugging the loss of earnings by the agency.

These include mains replacement, network management, water supply management and mass replacement of old, defective meters.

“In fact, the NWC will be replacing 100,000 domestic meters and 3,000 large commercial/industrial customer meters and this will commence in September 2013,” said Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill.

He was speaking on Wednesday, June 26, during his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral debate in the House of Representatives.

He noted that through financing received from the Inter-American Development Bank, the NWC intends to implement a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Integrated Water Management System (SCADA).

“This system will aid in the operation and maintenance of the Commission’s systems and will result in the reduction of the non-revenue water component of the Commission’s operations, as well as the high energy costs, while improving service to its customers,” Mr. Pickersgill said.

Meanwhile, he informed that the Office of Utilities Regulations’ (OUR) consultations to get people’s views on a rate increase that is being sought by the NWC, have been completed.

According to the Minister, “the tariff submission is based mainly on the Commission’s efforts to expand and improve potable water and sewerage services to the Jamaican people.”

He noted that the meetings have confirmed that the primary concern of consumers is access to potable water, rather than the cost, especially in the rural areas.

“Expansion and improvement need to be supported by a rate regime, which will enable the Commission to attract financing for its programmes and projects. We await the determination of the OUR,” he stated.

In 2008, the NWC sought an increase of 44 per cent. The company, however, received 23 per cent with a scheduled review five years later. The NWC is now seeking an increase of 12 per cent on the base rate along with adjustments to the X Factor.

The X-Factor is essentially an efficiency-gains calculation that is passed on to the customer. These efficiency gains are the expected result of the investments in projects done using the K-Factor funds.

The K-Factor is an approved mechanism for the NWC to acquire a pre-determined amount of funding to do an approved set of capital projects in order to improve service to customers.

Contact: Latonya Linton

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