Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Retha­bile Pitso

THE Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Author­ity (LEWA) has ap­proved new wa­ter and sew­er­age ser­vice tar­iffs, which come into ef­fect on 1 April 2015.

The wa­ter charge is set to in­crease by eight per­cent, while elec­tric­ity tar­iffs go up by 5.4 per­cent. The new tar­iff regime means that with M20, do­mes­tic cus­tomers would now buy 15.55 units from the pre­vi­ous 16.42 units while a pur­chase of five litres of wa­ter would re­quire M4.51 from the pre­vi­ous M4.18.

Ac­cord­ing LEWA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Ntoi Ra­papa, the in­cre­ments were made with con­sid­er­a­tion of the im­pact they would make on con­sumers. This, he said, was stip­u­lated by the Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity Author­ity Act of 2002 which stip­u­lates that public con­sul­ta­tions must be held be­fore im­ple­ment­ing such mea­sures with the LEWA board also sup­posed to as­sess the pro­pos­als.

Mr Ra­papa said LEWA held four public hear­ings through­out the coun­try as well as var­i­ous an­nounce­ments in the me­dia with the pur­pose of tak­ing on board all the con­se­quences the hikes would have on Ba­sotho.

“The pur­pose of LEWA is to reg­u­late tar­iffs and as­sess the im­pact the changes would have on so­ci­ety, as well as on the ser­vice providers Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity Com­pany (LEC) and Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Com­pany (WASCO),” said Mr Ra­papa.

“We then ap­prove the pro­pos­als in a man­ner that would be sat­is­fac­tory to all stake­hold­ers with re­gard to all their needs.”

Ini­tially, he said, WASCO had pro­posed a 25 per­cent in­crease on wa­ter and sew­er­age ser­vices and a fur­ther six per­cent in­crease in the stand­ing charge while LEC had re­quested 18.32 per­cent hike on ser­vices but both “over­es­ti­mated” re­quests were turned down by LEWA.

“In Jan­uary 2015, LEC ap­plied to LEWA to ap­prove an an­nual bud­get of about M736 mil­lion which would en­able the com­pany to pay for the power im­ported from Eskom in South Africa,” Mr Ra­papa said.

“They also needed to pay EDM of Mozam­bique and Muela Hy­dropower Plant (MHP) as well as to cater for main­tainance, labour costs and op­er­at­ing ex­penses.

“In the same man­ner, WASCO had re­quested a bud­get of M209 mil­lion for wa­ter ser­vices, an ad­di­tional M35 mil­lion for sew­er­ages ser­vices and a fur­ther M500 charge for wa­ter con­nec­tions for do­mes­tic con­sumers.”

LEWA Board Chair­per­son Le­boli Thamae said the ap­proved tar­iffs would still en­able the two ser­vice providers to pro­vide ser­vices “dili­gently”.

LEWA was es­tab­lished un­der the Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity Act of 2002 and in 2013 as­sumed the power to reg­u­late ur­ban wa­ter and sew­er­age ser­vices in the coun­try.

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