Penang water company says no tariff hike this year

By Opalyn Mok
PBAPP CEO Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said water supply operators are required to apply to the SPAN for reviews of water tariffs and water supply service charges under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655). — Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 14 ― Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa denied claims today that water tariffs would rise this year.

He clarified that the company is applying to the National Water Services Commission to impose a water conservation surcharge (WCS) on consumers who use too much water, and stressed that the surcharge is not the same as the tariff.

“We are awaiting approval for a water conservation surcharge review that will only affect 23 per cent of domestic consumers who use more than 35,000 litres per month,” he told a press conference at Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's office today.

“About 77 per cent of domestic consumers in Penang enjoy the lowest tariffs in Malaysia for consumption of below 35,000 litres of water each month,” he said, adding that the water tariff rate is now RM0.32 per 1,000 litres.

PBAPP submitted its application for a WCS review on April 28 and is waiting for approval from the commission.

Jaseni was responding to allegations online that PBAPP would be hiking water tariffs soon.

He also denied claims that PBAPP is facing “cash flow deficit”.

He explained that the company's non-revenue water (NRW) percentage increased by 3.2 per cent from 18.3 per cent in 2014 to 21.5 per cent in 2016 due to the state's implementation of its “no water rationing” policy.

“In the past three years, due to climate change, PBAPP has been pumping treated water at higher pressures from the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant to ensure that there was no water rationing during the dry seasons and to meet increasing water demands.

He said pumping water at higher pressures caused smaller distribution pipelines to burst or leak and this leak to higher NRW losses.