Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) hosted a number of Radio and TV programmes since January 2022 where the public was invited to participate in the discussions on application by Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) on tariff increase for the year 2022-23. In its submission WASCO requested a tariff increase of 15% for volumetric tariff charges and 15% for standing charges. The last presentation held on Monday 7th February was organised for a number of consumer organisations to name but a few; Lesotho Textile Exporters Association, Consumer Protection Association (CPA), Lesotho Employers Association and Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). In his presentation Mr. Mpho Mokoatleng, Manager Strategic Services pointed out WASCO has not had an increase in tariff in the last two financial years since 2019, and this has impacted negatively on the Company’s operations. Mokoatleng further indicated that to cater for the poor and vulnerable people the standing charge for Band A shall stay at zero. Moreover, the Company has not requested tariff increase on sewerage services which are still lagging behind.
Mokoatleng cited reasons for tariff increase as follows;
- to keep pace with the inflationary increases that have affected the cost of goods and services consumed by WASCO.
- expansion of water supply network and extension of water and sewerage services to new areas to increase customer base
- to execute maintenance of water supply and sewerage infrastructure
- provision of continuous training for staff members
- demands of infrastructure operation and maintenance and to be in a position to deliver excellent customer service at all times.
On the same note he stated the cost of labour, power, chemicals, maintenance materials and transportation as the main drivers of WASCO expenditure.
In response to WASCO request, the said organisations pointed out that reasons tabled by WASCO are valid. However, the Company should take into consideration challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic such as closure of businesses which led retrenchments, poor economy and poverty. One of the representatives stated that production costs have increased exponentially and an increase in tariff will not attract foreign investors mainly the textile industry which is the biggest employer in the country.
The last increase in tariff was effected in 2019 where potable water was increased by 3% for volumetric for all consumers and 4.7% for standing charges excluding Band A consumers.
LEWA is expected to hold a press conference on the 29th March, 2022 to announce the decision made by the Board on WASCO’s request.