THE Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), which regulates the water industry, said it will audit the financial performance of the country’s two biggest water concessionaires in June and will subsequently repeat the exercise yearly.
“I want to target an audit starting June. We will announce this month an invitation to financial auditors to bid [for the contract],” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Lester N. Ty said in a news conference in Quezon City.
“I plan on doing this every year, up to 2022,” he said. “During my term [which ends in 2022] I will be insisting on an annual audit.”
He said the purpose of the financial audit is to protect the interest of the public by checking whether concessionaires Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. are “prudent and efficient” in their spending.
“This is to make sure that Manila Water and Maynilad are not overspending and not overcharging consumers,” he said.
He said the concessionaires have no choice but to comply since their concession agreements allow their books and records to be audited by the MWSS regulatory office.
In the same news conference, Mr. Ty announced a reduction in water rates for both Maynilad and Manila Water customers to factor in the strengthening of the peso against the dollar and yen.
For Maynilad, the foreign currency differential adjustment (FCDA) will mean a reduction of P0.23 per cubic meters (cu.m) while for Manila Water the cut will be P0.05 per cu.m.
The rate adjustment will start in April.
For Maynilad customers, the impact of the FCDA on their monthly billed volume is a reduction of P0.20 for those consuming 10 cu.m. or less. A cut of P0.75 is expected for those using 20 cu.m., and P1.54 for customers using 30 cu.m.
For Manila Water customers, the reduction for customers using 10 cu.m. or less, 20 cu.m. and 30 cu.m. is P1.21, P2.69 and P5.49, respectively.
The FCDA mechanism was installed because the water concessionaires pay foreign currency-denominated concession fees, as well as loans to fund service improvement projects that will expand and upgrade water and wastewater services.
It also allows them to sustain their program to cut water losses or non-revenue water and bring the supply to the underserved and unserved sectors in their service areas. — Victor V. Saulon