JIS News

Community Relations Officer for the National Water Commission (NWC), Charles Buchanan, has outlined reasons why the Commission should get a rate increase for supplying water to consumers islandwide.
Addressing a public forum at the Port Antonio High School in Portland on September 25, Mr. Buchanan said among the reasons were, the inability of the NWC to recover capital cost, the need to increase expenditure on maintenance to prevent further deterioration of resources, and the fact that the tariff currently in place was below the cost of providing the service.
Noting that the objective of the proposed increase in rates was to bring them closer to the cost of service as well as to enable the NWC to provide water efficiently to the Jamaican people, Mr. Buchanan said the amount of increase being sought was 42 per cent, adding that the figure was significantly below the 80 per cent increase recommended by the consultants advising the utility company. Mr. Buchanan pointed out that the NWC was not in an ideal financial position because the cost of providing water was far above the revenue being earned by the company, and emphasized that a refusal to grant a tariff increase at this time would place the entity in a much more disadvantageous situation. He said, a refusal would result in the declining ability of the NWC to provide water for the population, and this reality would further impair the organization’s ability to provide quality service for its customers.
Mr. Buchanan told members of the audience that its status as the only utility company operating in the country which was fully owned by government, would ensure that the increase would redound to the benefit of the Jamaican people.
The forum, which was organized by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), is part of a series of consultations being held islandwide by the OUR, to enable the NWC to explain the reasons why a rate increase was justified.