Water bills hiked by 9%
(CNS): Residents in Cayman face even more financial misery, as water joins the list of necessities that keep going up in price. As people reel from growing CUC bills, soaring food prices and endless increases to fees and taxes, the Water Authority has joined in the squeeze with an increase of 9.2% on water rates on Grand Cayman and 6.68% increase on Cayman Brac. Although the authority has now scrapped the minimum monthly fee, all customers of the government-owned company will be facing bigger bills this month after the rate increase on water and sewage services was implemented today. The problems the authority now faces borrowing cash because of the FFR was one of the reasons cited for the stiff increase.
Despite removing the $16.04 minimum fee, the increase from $4.01 per cubic metre to $4.38 for the first 3,200 gallons, and from 5.10 to 5.57 for usage over the first 12, residential customers will be feeling the pinch.
On top of the increasing cost of water sewerage and septage rates will increase of 10% and there will also now be an energy adjustment charge (EAF) on those services as well as on the water bills. The authority said EAF is expressed in CI$ per sewerage fixture unit and CI$ per 1,000 gallons of septage covers fluctuations in the cost of electricity used to process the sewage and septage. Other changes include an automatic annual rate adjustment and increases to statutory fees.
“The rate adjustment is driven by the need to invest in our water and wastewater infrastructure to ensure their proper and adequate operation in the years to come,” said Dr Gelia Frederick-van Genderen, Director of the Water Authority, as the government-owned company announced the bad news for its customers.
“The last comprehensive rate adjustment took place in 1995, with a minor rate adjustment in mid-2007. The Water Authority is facing increased difficulties with borrowing due to the FFR (Framework for Fiscal Responsibility) bill. However even with borrowing, a rate adjustment would still be necessary in order to maintain and expand the water and wastewater infrastructures in accordance with public demand.”
The authority said that the automatic annual rate adjustment will reflect the changing costs of doing business in the Cayman Islands.
In the face of the more than nine percent hike, the authority said its water was still much less costly than bottled water. A typical gallon of bottled water purchased at a retail store is $1.25-$1.50 compared to water from the Water Authority at less than $0.02 per gallon.
“The potable water produced by the Water Authority exceeds World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water quality,” it stated, advising how customers may reduce their consumption.
“A rate increase may cause concern for residents, however there are things people can do to minimize the impact on their pocket book,” it said. “The Water Authority continues to encourage customers to take charge of their water consumption and monitor their usage closely to manage and control their expenses. This can be as easy as identifying and fixing leaks without delay, avoiding unnecessary toilet flushing, installing water-saver shower heads and limiting water used for gardening.’
Customers can monitor their usage by keeping an eye on their water meter. By becoming familiar with the normal readings on the meter, customers can more easily identify abnormally high usage and take immediate steps to remedy problems.
The authority provides information on meter reading on its website www.waterauthority.ky.
Customers can also read the Water Authority (Amendment) Regulations 2012 there which provides an explanation of all the new changes.
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