Consumers will not be affected

PETALING JAYA: Consumers will not be affected – The plan for a joint water and sewage services bill will not lead to consumers paying more, said National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chief executive Datuk Mohd Ridhuan Ismail.

“They will not end up paying more as the current charges are just merged into one bill and these charges will be itemised,” Mohd Ridhuan said.

Mohd Ridhuan said consumers in Selangor, who currently have free use of 20 cubic metres of water a month, would still get to enjoy the benefit.

There would also be no complications for merging of bills for consumers who live in high-rise buildings such as condominiums and apartments that used bulk water supply meters, he said.

“Since there is only one bulk water meter, the sewerage bill will be issued to the management committee or the joint management bodies,” Mohd Ridhuan said when contacted yesterday.

On Tuesday, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili announced that a single billing system for water supply and sewage services had been introduced in Labuan.

This is expected to be expanded to Putrajaya and other states serviced by Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) in the next six months or one year.

SPAN is a statutory body which oversees treated water and sewerage services in Malaysia except Sabah and Sarawak.

He said the joint billing of water and sewage services was in line with the Water Services Industry Act.

The move, Mohd Ridhuan added, would ensure efficiency of the utility industries.

He said the pilot project in Labuan, which started on Tuesday, involved the mergers of 5,177 accounts.

“SPAN with the co-operation from Jabatan Bekalan Air Labuan (JBAL) and IWK will closely monitor the implementation,” Mohd Rid-huan said.

Mohd Ridhuan said the implementation to other states would only be carried out upon the success of the Labuan venture.

In the past, he said, there were no sewerage bills, but local authority would collect payment in their assessment charges.

“Upon the formation of IWK, the management of the sewerage services was transferred from the respective local authority to the company and charges were imposed accordingly,” Mohd Ridhuan said.

IWK corporate communications general manager Azza Pawanchik said the bill would clearly show charges for water and sewage services separately.

“It is more convenient for the customers to get one single bill for two utilities,” she said.

Azza also said that consumers would not have to pay more with this integrated billing system.

Previously, the water supply and sewage bills were merged with the local government assessment charges.

In 1994, the bills were separated as IWK was privatised. But since 2000, the consortium was taken over by the Government.

Source : thestar.com.my

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