Will WASCO Keep Dredg­ing Fee?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The 10.43% tar­iff that WASCO has added to the bills of cus­tomers since 2013 has ex­pired. The pe­riod of the tar­iff, which many saw as an ad­di­tional “tax”, came to an end on Au­gust 31, 2015. How­ever, cus­tomers are still re­quired to pay the tar­iff even though the Na­tional Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Com­mis­sion (NWSC) has not ap­proved a con­tin­u­a­tion of this fee. This has taken many by sur­prise and seems some­what odd to cus­tomers who had com­plained about the ad­di­tional tar­iff from the out­set.

In a press state­ment this week the NWSC in­di­cated that it is cur­rently re­view­ing the re­quest of the Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Com­pany Inc. (WASCO) for an ex­ten­sion of the “Dredg­ing Fee”. Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, the 10.43% which formed part of the Fi­nal Tar­iff De­ter­mi­na­tion No­tice of 2013, ex­pired on Au­gust 31, 2015. The Com­mis­sion has agreed for the “Dredg­ing Fee” to re­main in ef­fect pend­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to WASCO the fee formed part of the 66.15% rate in­crease which was awarded to the com­pany by a com­mis­sion in 2013. The funds de­rived from that fee sup­pos­edly go to­ward the dredg­ing of the John Comp­ton Dam, an is­sue that has also been very con­tentious.

The NWSC says that the con­di­tions for man­ag­ing the “Dredg­ing Fee” stip­u­late that any re­quest for the con­tin­u­a­tion of the fee be­yond the tri­en­nial pe­riod must be jus­ti­fied with doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence. It says that it be­lieves in con­tin­u­ous stake­holder en­gage­ment; to this end, a draft de­ci­sion will be cir­cu­lated for public com­ment.

WASCO seeks per­mis­sion to con­tinue charg­ing cus­tomers a fee to­wards dredg­ing

of the John Comp­ton Dam. But for how long will this mea­sure con­tinue?

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