Elec­tric­ity, wa­ter hikes loom

Lesotho Times - - Busi­ness - Bereng Mpak­iMpa

CON­SUMERS have been urged to find al­ter­na­tive forms of en­ergy to ease their fi­nan fi­nan­cial bur­den in light of ever in­creasin in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity costs. This was said by Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Author­ity (LEWA) Act­ing Chief Ex Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Thuso Nt­lama duri dur­ing a me­dia brief­ing this week conv con­vened to an­nounce pro­pos­als for elec­tric­ity and wa­ter tar­iffs in­creases. A As the reg­u­la­tor of the Le­sotho Elec­tric­ity Com­pany (LEC) a and Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Com­pany (WASCO), LEWA con­sid­ers the mer­its of the pro­pos­als a af­ter hold­ing pub­lic h hear­ings on the pro­posed in­crease. Mr Nt­lama said LEC had pro­posed a 16.9 per­cent hike for elec­tric­ity tar­iffs while WASCO re­quested a 10 per- cent in­crease in wa­ter charges. He said LEWA was in the process of re­view­ing the two ap­pli­ca­tions with a de­ci­sion ex­pected within three months af­ter so­lic­it­ing the views of stake­hold­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic.

“LEC has re­quested for a 16.9 per­cent tar­iff in­crease for a rev­enue re­quire­ment of M964.5 mil­lion in its 2017/18 op­er­a­tions while WASCO has re­quested a 10 per­cent in­crease in wa­ter charges for a rev­enue re­quire­ment of M257.3 mil­lion for 2017/18,” said Mr Nt­lama.

“WASCO is re­quest­ing an up­ward tar­iff ad­just­ment of 10 per­cent to the ex­ist­ing vol­u­met­ric tar­iffs and stand­ing charges for all bands ex­cept band A.”

Among the rea­sons WASCO cited for the pro­posed in­crease is the need to un­der­take pre­ven­tive main­te­nance for key in­fra­struc­ture, re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing retic­u­la­tion sys­tems, op­er­at­ing the Me­to­long dam wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity and its re­lated in­fra­struc­ture as well as im­prov­ing per­for­mance.

“WASCO also pro­poses to aug- ment key per­son­nel in se­lected op­er­a­tions ar­eas, in par­tic­u­lar Me­to­long,” he said.

The paras­tatal also sub­mit­ted some of its ma­jor cost driv­ers such as man­power at M110.5 mil­lion, power at M25.4 mil­lion, chem­i­cal us­age at M8.5 mil­lion, retic­u­la­tion and plant main­te­nance at M21.6 mil­lion, ad­min­is­tra­tion costs at M33.5 mil­lion, wa­ter and sew­er­age con­nec­tions at M20.5 mil­lion and dep­re­ca­tion at M18.0 mil­lion.

For its part, LEC is re­quest­ing an ap­proval for a tar­iff in­crease of 16.9 per­cent for both en­ergy and max­i­mum de­mand (MD) charges.

Bulk elec­tric­ity, which is pegged at M432.8 mil­lion, ac­counts for the largest part of LEC’S cost break­down, fol­lowed by op­er­at­ing ex­penses at M268.5 mil­lion, de­pre­ci­a­tion at M116.4 mil­lion, re­turn on as­sets at M100.5 mil­lion, main­te­nance costs at M44.6 mil­lion and diesel for Se­monkong at M1.7 mil­lion.

In the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, a 12 per­cent tar­iff in­crease and M755.32 mil­lion were ap­proved for LEC, while eight per­cent wa­ter tar­iffs hike and M234.18 mil­lion rev­enue re­quire­ment was ap­proved for WASCO.

Asked what con­sumers could do to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of the an­tic­i­pated tar­iffs in­creases, Mr Nt­lama said find­ing al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources was key to re­duc­ing en­ergy costs.

“I think de­mand side man­age­ment is cru­cial to mit­i­gate the in­creas­ing prices of elec­tric­ity. For in­stance, con­sumers can in­stall so­lar-pow­ered gey­sers in their homes in or­der to re­duce the load on LEC power es­pe­cially dur­ing peak hours like in the morn­ing when every­body needs hot wa­ter be­fore go­ing to work.”

Pub­lic hear­ings on the pro­posed in­crease are sched­uled for 3 Fe­bru­ary 2017 in Mo­hale’s Hoek, 16 Fe­bru­ary 2017 in Hlotse, and 3 March 2017 in Maseru. Com­ments from stake­hold­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic are in­vited un­til 1 Fe­bru­ary 2017.

The LEWA Board is ex­pected to an­nounce its de­ci­sion on the two ap­pli­ca­tions from 6-7 April 2017.

LEWA Act­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Thuso Nt­lama.

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