Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company has proposed an upward adjustment of water tariffs for districts in Muchinga and Northern Provinces effective January next year.
The company which operates in Northern and Muchinga Provinces plans to increase the water tariffs by 45% for all metered customers and 40% for unmetered customers.
Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company, Kaputa District Manager Sunny Banda has attributed the proposed increment to imminent increase in electricity tariff, inflation rate and high operational costs.
“We have taken this measure because we are projecting a 100% increase in electricity costs as at December 2016 due to increase in ZESCO tariffs. The other reason is that we expect an increase in water production volumes because of expansion of the network in new project areas, so this will mean employing more people and also result in increase in the cost of production” he said.
Mr. Banda added that the increment will only be effected if the regulator, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) approves the proposal.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Kaputa today, Mr Banda said that the company has made the proposal adding that it will forward the discussions to NWASCO for considerations on whether or not to allow the increase.
“We have invited you our stakeholders so that you can support our proposal to increase the tariffs, NWASCO demands that before effecting any increase the company should hold meeting with you (our clients) so that you can also have a say,” he said.
Mr. Banda has since appealed to Kaputa residents to support the proposal for the increment.
He stated that the company has one of the lowest tariffs among the commercial water utility companies in the country.
“The company has the lowest tariff amongst all the 11 Commercial utilities in Zambia and this has affected service delivery to its esteemed customers. The company does not meet its operations and maintenance costs hence failing to improve its services to the customers. The increase in tariff will therefore help the company improve service delivery,” Mr. Banda said.
Meanwhile, several customers in Kaputa district who attended the meeting have expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s failure to install meters at their homes.
The customers said it was unfair that the company has continued to charge them money when they only receive water for about two days in a week.
Mr Joseph Kamalondo said while customers may not object to the increase, they wants the company to install meters so that they can pay for what they use.
Another customer, Paul Nkatia further advised the company to put the proposal on hold until it works on their concerns.
Mr. Nkatia said customers in Kaputa are receiving poor quality water adding that the company should only consider increasing the tariffs once it improves the quality of water.
Meanwhile, another customer said the 45% and 40% increase for metered and unmetered customers respectively was too much saying the company should consider increasing the tariffs by anything not more than 30%.
And in responding to concerns, the District Manager said the company has already procured the meters and is only waiting for the constructor working on the water rehabilitation project in the district to install them.
Mr. Banda said the company plans to install meters to all its customers by the end of this year.
All the customers including domestic, institutions, or commercial will have the same increment of 45% for those with meters and 40% for all those without meters.