KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Vincentian households will next month begin paying a minimum of EC$5 more for water and solid waste management services, for the first time since 2007.
“…75 per cent of our consumers will endure an increase of EC$10 or less for water supply and sewerage services,” Garth Saunders, chief executive officer of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), said in announcing the increases on Tuesday.
“Above 5,000 gallons, where the increase gets a little higher, if you are billed at 10, 000 …, your bill increases from EC$105 to EC$135, a $30 increase,” he said, adding that 94 per cent of CWSA customers use less than 10,000 gallons of water a month.
“So, in summary, customers using between 5,000 and 10,000 gallons, you will see an increase in your bill of somewhere between EC$10 and EC$30. But there are only 25 per cent of persons in that category,” he further stated.
“But the majority of people, 75 per cent of them, will see an increase in their bill of between EC$5 and EC$10 per month,” Saunders reemphasised.
Domestic consumer will see their bill increasing by EC$2 even before using the first drop of water, as the basic charge moves from EC$12 to EC$14.
Commercial consumers, on the other hand, will pay EC$10 more as their basic charge increases from EC$15 to EC$25.
Saunders explained that the basic charge is not a rental fee for water meters.
“The basic charge, basically, is to ensure that the CWSA has a sufficient fixed income to be able to carry out certain basic, minimum amount of services,” he said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Domestic consumers will see their water rate increasing by EC$1 for volumes between zero and 2,500 gallons, moving from EC$5.50 to EC$6.50 per 1,000 gallons per month.
Households using between 2,501 and 5,000 gallons will also pay EC$1 more per 1,000 gallons as the rate moves from $6.50 to $7.50 per 1,000 gallons.
Consumption of between 5,001 and 10,000 gallons will see an increase of EC$5 per 1,000 gallons, a shift from EC$11 to EC$15 per 1,000 gallons.
For volumes between 10,001 and 15,000, the rate will rise by EC$5, from EC$15 to EC$20 per 1,000 gallons.
Volumes in excess of $15,000 will be charged at EC$25 dollar per 1,000 gallons, an increase of $5.
Small commercial entities such as shops will continue to pay $15 per 1,000 gallons while large commercial entities will pay an EC$2 increase. Their rates will change from EC$20 to EC$22 per 1,000 gallons.
For domestic sewerage services, customers currently paying EC$5 will pay EC$10, those paying EC$15 will now pay EC$20, while those paying 20 will increase to EC$30.
Commercial sewerage customers currently paying EC$100 will pay EC$125, those paying EC$250 will pay EC$300 and those paying EC$385 will increase to EC$500.
On St. Vincent, the environmental fee, the monies citizens pay to have their garbage collected and processed at the nation’s landfills, will move from EC$8 to EC$11.
“You will note that at EC$11, it equates to EC$2.75 per week you pay to the CWSA to collect three, four, five bags of garbage, take it to the landfill and landfill it,” Saunders said, noting that the current rate is EC$2 per week.
The fee for commercial entities will increase by EC$5 to EC$25 and from EC$40 to EC$45 and EC$70 to EC$85, depending on the category.
While businesses are expected to take their garbage to the landfill, the fees are paid to the CSWA for handling the garbage when it gets there.
In the Grenadines, where garbage is collected twice a week unlike the one-per-week in St. Vincent, households will see their environmental fee double to EC$10.
Commercial entities in the Grenadines will see their environmental fee move from EC$10 to EC$15, EC$50 to EC$60 and EC$300 to EC$500 per month in the various categories.
Water sold to ships remains at EC$40 per 1,000 gallons.
The rate increase and the one given in 2007 is not what the CWSA requested of the Cabinet, Saunders said.
He detailed to the media the circumstances necessitating the increases, saying that the CWSA has seen an overall decline in revenue between 2003 and 2007.
And while an increase was granted in 2007, it was not at the levels the CWSA requested but it has since spent EC$10.8 million to finance its capital project.