Manila Water defers Q4 rate hike – MWSS chief regulator


EAST ZONE water concessionaire Manila Water Co., Inc. deferred its rate adjustment for the fourth quarter (Q4), according to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office.

“Manila Water has voluntarily deferred its Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment (FCDA) implementation upon recommendation of the MWSS Regulatory Office, as it will result in an upward tariff adjustment for its customers,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Lester N. Ty said in a statement on Monday.

Sought for additional comment, Mr. Ty told BusinessWorld via mobile phone that Manila Water did not submit a petition anymore concerning the fourth-quarter rate adjustments.

“We told Manila Water of our policy, that we will not allow any increase, and they agreed to it. Only Maynilad Water Services, Inc. submitted a petition,” Mr. Ty said.

Mr. Ty also confirmed that the recently announced FCDA will be the last one before the revised concession agreements (CA) of Manila Water and west zone water concessionaire Maynilad take effect.

“Yes, there will be no more FCDA unless they extend the effective date of the revised CA. If it is still a downward adjustment, we will study it again,” Mr. Ty said.

The revised agreements of Manila Water and Maynilad are set to take effect no later than Nov. 18, 2021. Some of the highlights include the removal of the FCDA and the imposition of a tariff freeze until Dec. 31, 2022.

Maynilad customers will have lower water bills for the fourth quarter after the MWSS Board of Trustees granted the water provider with an FCDA of -0.55% of its average basic charge of P36.24 per cubic meter (/cu.m.) or an average refund of 20 centavos/cu.m.

Maynilad residential customers using 10 cu.m. or less will see a reduction of 18 centavos in their monthly water bills for the quarter.

Customers consuming 20 cu.m. and 30 cu.m. will see a decrease of 69 centavos and P1.40 respectively in their bills.

“The implementation of the FCDA this quarter has been approved for Maynilad, as the proposed downward tariff adjustment has been deemed greatly beneficial to the public,” Mr. Ty said.

To recall, the FCDA is a tariff mechanism reviewed quarterly that lets water concessionaire to regain losses or return gains caused by the movement of foreign exchange rates. The water providers pay foreign currency-denominated loans used to fund the development and expansion of water and sewerage services.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave