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GWI seeks revenue from new water charges – 7th Dec 2012

The new tariff structure proposed by GWI aims to ensure that all water consumers pay their fair share and would help to dig the utility out of the financial pit it is in.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), has to approve the new tariffs and today met with Chief Executive Officer, Shaik Baksh and other senior executives of the GWI Board, asking them to justify the need for the new tariff structure.

However, GWI did not get a clear indication that the new tariff structure would be approved, with Baksh and his team having to return to provide additional information.

Baksh could not definitely say how many consumers the utility has and admitted, after prompting by PUC Chair Justice, Prem Persaud, that the database is “in a mess.”

Baksh said, that the utility has 184,000 consumers, but the PUC felt that figure seemed exorbitant. Baksh then admitted that GWI has to clean up its database.

For this year, GWI is projecting losses of 3.4 billion. If the new tariff structure is approved, GWI could cut in half the amount of its losses.

Currently, GWI’s operating costs amount to $2.5 billion with its fuel bill adding up to another 2.5 billion.

Baksh said, that GWI is attempting to cut the electricity bill, by, among other things, resizing pumps. He told the Commission that current monthly savings from these energy saving initiates adds up to $12 million.

Baksh is contending that GWI is looking to make metering more attractive to customers. According to GWI, more than half of the water it sends out through the pipes is not paid for.

The CEO said that expanding metering is the surest way to ensure that everyone who uses water pays, and pays the fair amount.

Currently, only 40% of customers have a meter from which their water usage is charged.

According to GWI’s strategic plan, 95% of customers should have meters by the end of 2016. If that happens, the project is that GWI would be able to meet all of its costs with revenues that are collected through the metering system.

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