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Why Nairobi Water wants to double your bill

The cost of living is bound to increase drastically with the price of water set to double.

More than four million people living in Nairobi will be first to feel the strain with water tariffs going up by up to 93 per cent.

In a Gazette notice issued on Friday, the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Services (NWSC) slapped residents with new tariffs that will see Nairobians who consume an average of 20 cubic meters of water per month part with about Sh1,674, up from the current Sh868.

These tariffs take effect immediately.

This figure is inclusive of sewerage charges that are 75 per cent of the amount charged on water units consumed, and Sh50 as meter rent.

Low-income earners who consume six cubic meters of water and below will see their monthly bills go up from the current Sh187.10 to a flat rate of Sh204 — a nine per cent increment.

BALANCE ITS BOOKS

Large consumers of above 60 cubic metres in a month like water kiosks will pay Sh64 for every unit consumed in the new setup that has doubled every component of the consumer’s bill.

The company justifies this huge jump to increases in the factors of production and said it was merely trying to balance its books.

“We have not reviewed our tariffs since 2009 and since that time, every factor involved in this business, like the cost of acquiring chemicals, paying our workforce, electricity and maintenance costs, has gone up apart from what the consumers pay,” NWSC’s spokesman Mbaruku Vyakweli said.

“In fact even with these new prices, we have the lowest tariffs in East Africa if not the whole of Africa,” he said.

While NWSC has tried to justify these huge tariff increases, the supply of water to several parts of the city continues to be erratic at best.

EASTLANDS

A number of estates like Umoja and the greater Eastlands receive water for a few days in a week. The company says the increased charges will enable it improve on service delivery.

Also increased is the cost for new connections and the deposit, which have both been increased to Sh2,500 from Sh1,200 for domestic consumers.

Should your water supply be disconnected for nonpayment, you will pay Sh1,000.

Likewise sewer connection fees are now Sh5000 for domestic consumers and Sh15,000 for reconnection.

The cost of water has a ripple effect on the cost of living and its near doubling will raise household costs for families which are already grappling with increased costs of other essential items like electricity and fuel.

Kenya’s inflation rate increased to 5.97 percent last month, up from 5.84 percent in August.

NWSC had from last year been seeking an approval from the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) to increase tarrifs by 104 percent but the term of some members of the board expired before permission could be granted.

At least six board directors are required in order for any approvals made by the board to have effect and the positions were filled in April.

SOURCE: Sunday Nation