PETALING JAYA: The Government has finalised details of the proposed tariff structure to increase sewerage services charges which will be revealed at “the right time”.
The quantum of the increase is still in the works but Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Loo Took Gee assured that it would be fair to all, including consumers.
She said that the ministry would issue a regulation on the new rates without having to enact or amend the Water Services Industry Act 2006.
“We want to adopt a volumetric system for the new tariff but many water operators are not ready,” Loo said in an interview.
She added that the ministry had no issue about the need to revise the tariff charged by Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) but it must be approved by the Cabinet.
“In fact, the ministry has studied this matter in detail. The rates for different consumer groups are below the cost of supply,” Loo said.
“This is including the current RM8 imposed on domestic consumers.”
“IWK must be allowed to revise its rates so that it can be a viable entity to carry out its obligation towards a sustainable sewerage industry.”
She said the last tariff revision was in 1986 and that the rates for commercial customers had been reduced three times.
IWK has said that its profit is not enough to cover its operational costs.
The National Water Services Commission (SPAN), which regulates IWK, had proposed a tariff restructure three years ago based on water usage instead of a flat rate but this was opposed by consumer groups.
SPAN chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Ridhuan Ismail said bad habits of Malaysians flushing garbage down the sewerage system had increased IWK’s maintenance costs.
“As the system is only designed to treat waste water, rubbish can cause sewerage pipes to be blocked and damage the system, leading to more costs for repair works.
“If this culture continues, we will definitely need a higher tariff. SPAN’s position is a tariff hike is long overdue,” he said.
Under Section 61 of the Act, no person is allowed to dump any harmful substances or matter that is likely to damage the public sewage treatment works or interfere with the free flow of its contents.
Offenders can be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed up to one year or both.