Potable water concerns J’cans more than NWC rate hike – Gov’t

MINISTER OF Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill is indicating that consumers are not seriously concerned about the 12 per cent rate increase requested by the National Water Commission (NWC).

Pickersgill said yesterday that, based on public consultations in conjunction with the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), consumers, especially those in rural areas, were more interested in access to potable water than the cost.

In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament yesterday, Pickersgill said the NWC was seeking the 12 per cent increase on its base rate, along with adjustments to the X Factor. The commission defines X Factor as an efficiency-gains calculation that is passed on to the customer.

The tariff submission, according to Pickersgill, is based on the NWC’s efforts to expand and improve potable water and sewerage services to the country.

Castigating the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for its criticisms of the NWC’s application for a rate hike, Pickersgill charged that under the previous administration, there was an application for a 44 per cent rate increase.

“They received 23 per cent, with a scheduled review five years later,” said Pickersgill.

“Expansion and improvement need to be supported by a rate regime which will enable the Commission to attract financing for its programmes and projects. We await the determination of the OUR.”