Nodal water supplier to plead for upward revision of tariff

Kathmandu, January 18:

Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) said it would lodge an appeal to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works to revise Water Tariff Fixation Commission’s decision to hike water tariff, saying that it was not consulted by the commission before taking the decision.

“The law says the KUKL reserves the right to lodge a complaint within 30 days against the decision in case of dissatisfaction,” said Richard Huston, general manager, KUKL.

The KUKL has been negotiating with the commission since last April regarding the price hike, proposing tariff hike on a par with the overall approximate inflation of 30.37 per cent from 2004 — the year of the last tariff revision.

The KUKL has proposed that water tariff should be increased by 10 per cent for those who consume up to 10,000 litres per month and by 70 per cent for those who consume more that that.

However, the commission decided to charge Rs 27.50 to each consumer using up to 500 litres and Rs 17.50 for those using up to 1,000 litres per month. Huston said that KUKL needed to sustain on its own since it had entered into the public-private partnership model.

According to KUKL, this year it anticipated to generate Rs 441 million in revenue including tariff hike from December. It generates Rs 430 million from its 93,000 lines while its expenses are Rs 547 million. Water tariff needs to be hiked to improve the services, he added.

The KUKL is faced with challenges such as repairing the long-neglected pipe network, reservoirs and equipment. There are estimated 50,000 illegal collectors, with no mechanism to regulate them, Huston said.

Huston pointed out that 23 of 26 water treatment plants do not work or have deficiencies while one of the four waste water treatment plants barely functions. “The government does not have a network map. New collectors are built by communities and development organisations without consulting with KUKL or any other partner.”