Power, water tariffs up

Power, water tariffs up

MASERU – THE Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) has applied for a 10 percent increase in tariffs while the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) is seeking a 19.9 percent rise.
The Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) received tariff adjustment applications from the LCE and WASCO for the 2017/18 financial year.
WASCO is requesting an approval for a revenue requirement of M257.3 million.

The company is seeking a tariff increase to the existing potable water volumetric charges in all bands as well as for standing charges.
In the application, WASCO has stated that it has to undertake preventive maintenance to upkeep its key infrastructure, maintain non-revenue water to acceptable levels, take over the Metolong Dam water treatment facility and related infrastructure.

The company also wants to rehabilitate its reticulation systems and improve performance. It also proposes to augment key personnel in selected operational areas, in particular Metolong. As for the LEC, it has requested an approval for a revenue requirement of M964.4 million for the 2017/18 financial year.
The company has requested a tariff increment on both energy and maximum demand charges.

In its application, the LEC says there are projected increases in imported electricity bulk purchases and operating expenditure for transmission and distribution businesses.
The LEC says bulk electricity purchases from Eskom in South Africa and EDM in Mozambique are expected to increase to M432.7 million from M426 million in the current financial year.

The company says expenditure on operating expenses, maintenance repairs and labour will also increase to M268.4 million.
It further says depreciation of assets is expected to escalate by 16 percent to M116.4 million.
LEWA will publish the approved tariffs tomorrow.

Responding to the proposed increment of tariffs, the external affairs officer at the United Textile Employees (UNITE), Daniel Maraisane, said the rise in electricity and water costs is going to affect business and workers at the same time because business owners might make them work overtime just to cover the massive loss caused by the prices.
Maraisane said the business owners are also going to be under pressure to change their budget so that they can make profits just like before the price rise.

“There is nothing we can do to bring to an end this issue even if we wanted to, because we are not included in their decision making process,” Maraisane said.
He added that “there is no structure implemented to boycott any decision taken even when it is pressing down a lot of people”.

However, LEWA invited everybody including trade unions to air their opinions at public gatherings at various places around the country between February 3 and March 3 for electricity tariff hike.

LEWA also invited all to attend hearing sessions where they could air their views between February 2 and March 2 at various places for the water tariff hike.

Nkheli Liphoto

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