ELECTRICITY, WATER CHARGES GO UP
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.