Govt mulling joint billing for water, sewerage charges

Govt mulling joint billing for water, sewerage charges

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is studying various options including getting all states to voluntarily implement the joint billing for monthly water and sewerage bills in their respective states.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar (pix) said negotiations and discussions with industry players on the proposal were still ongoing, and it would take some time before a decision could be achieved.

“It is not a very popular idea to put forward. So, maybe I will start in states that are more forthcoming in doing it and not go ahead with blanket approval for the whole country,” he told Bernama here today.

Citing Labuan, Xavier said the territory had implemented joint water and sewerage billing over the past two years and it had been a success.

He added that joint billing would allow more systematic bill collection and better management of the utility services and infrastructure.

Xavier said although the collection rate by sewerage service operator Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) was currently at 94%, the company was still suffering losses with sewerage debts owed by states amounting to over RM900 million last year.

The proposal to combine both the bills was mooted following concerns over consumers’ lackadaisical attitude towards paying sewerage bill compared to paying the water bill.

Water supply is normally cut off if consumers fail to pay their bills.

Malaysian households are paying RM8 per month in sewerage bill, while those in low-cost housing (PPR) are only paying RM2 per month.

Xavier said the sewerage tariff must reflect the true cost of its services as it was no longer tenable in the long run for the government to continue subsiding IWK.

“At present, the government is studying various options. One of them is to introduce volumetric tariff system, whereby the sewerage tariff will be determined based on water consumption. Others include expanding IWK’s revenue from non-tariff sectors as well as other cost-cutting measures,” he said.

Government is subsiding IWK RM150 million this year. — Bernama

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