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Chairman: No plans to privatise WASA

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Canadian-firm is doing a diagnostic assessment of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to determine whether the cash strapped utilty should move ahead with a universal metering project. A few months ago the utility signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, an international contracting arm of the Canadian government, for the study.

This was confirmned yesterday by WASA chairman Romney Thomas as he responded to claims by Opposition Chief Whip Ganga Singh the arrangement with the Canadian firm was through the back door and was part of moves to privatise the company

“It has nothing to do with privatisation of WASA. As a board we have never considered that and I have gotten no directive in that regard,” Thomas said.

He said the assessment, which began a few weeks ago, will be completed before year’s end and is aimed at developing a baseline for WASA to determine the feasibility of moving ahead with the universal metering project.

“It can also be respectively tied in with any rate increase,” Thomas said.

He said before any metering system is introduced there will have to be a tendering process. He said the assessment, which is being done at no cost to WASA, will focus on key performance indicators, effective use of resources, improved customer service and availability of information.

“We are under no obligation to engage this company or any other company at the end of the assessment,” he said.

Thomas said WASA has also been looking at various ways of cutting costs.

In his 2018 budget presentation, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said WASA receives $2.5 billion in subsidies annually.

While Thomas agreed that WASA has to started generating its own revenue, he said when the Regulated Industries Commission concludes its rate review next year “we will get a rate increase that would be more commensurate with the cost of producing water.”

Thomas said WASA has also been on an aggressive collection drive.