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Are city water agents conning consumers?

A consumer organization is investigating the irregular increase in water tariffs by agencies in the city.

Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) Secretary General Stephen Mutoro told Nairobi News that the federation will write to the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) to seek answers on the increased water tariffs to its clients.

The inquest was prompted by a consumer who is supplied water by EPZA who posted increased rates from the authority that were scheduled to be effected by November 1.

In the new rates, consumers of water above 300 cubic metres will pay Sh170 per cubic metre up from the previous Sh70 per cubic metre.

NEW TARIFFS

Mr Mutoro termed the notice by EPZA to its tenants as alarming stating that the Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb) was to blame for failing to regulate tariffs by agents.

“It’s irrational for anyone to want to make more than five times irrespective of what overhead costs they are incurring,” said Mutoro.

Cofek plans to write to the authority calling for a halt in implementation of the new tariffs as it calls upon the regulator to review the rates downwards.

RECOMMENDED RATES

The Nairobi Water Company that supplies water to EPZA plans to review its tariffs starting January 2015 and is currently doing public awareness on the matter that received a nod from the regulator in November this year.

The recommended rates by Wasreb for Nairobi Water are Sh64 per cubic metre for domestic, industrial and commercial clients using above 60 cubic metres.

“The proposal by Nairobi Water is justified although the percentage could have been lower than the recommended 93 per cent as consumers should not bear the brunt of a high water percentage loss, it should be the company to ensure efficiency and reduce water loss,” said Mutoro.

After the month long consultation and a final clearance by WASREB, Nairobi Water Company will increase the tariffs starting next year and will see Nairobians having to dig deeper for the commodity.