By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has decided to delay a pending water rate increase as the agency prepares for a major change in leadership.
A statement showed that the MWSS Board of Trustees has deferred the implementation of the third quarter Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment (FCDA) until the next quarter, pending the assumption of office of the newly appointed administrator.
Approved every quarter, FCDA is a tariff mechanism granted to water concessionaires to allow them to recover losses or give back gains arising from the fluctuating movements of the peso against other currencies.
This, since utilities have to pay foreign-dominated concession fees to MWSS, as well as dollar-denominated loans, which they used to fund their projects.
MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said the delay in the implementation of third quarter FCDA will somehow be beneficial for the consumers because the initial computation for this quarter is an upward adjustment in the tariff.
In the last three months, water rates of Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWC) and Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad) went down after MWSS approved lower FCDA rates for the second quarter of the year.
This will be the first time in many quarters that the MWSS held back on its decision on FCDA rates, which would have been crucial for the operations of Maynilad and Manila Water.
To recall, there is now an anticipated management shake-up at MWSS which came a few weeks after a water crisis plagued the east zone concession.
To be specific, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco is set to take over the agency’s chairmanship in more than two weeks, while he will turn over his current position to retired Army Brig. Gen. Ricardo Morales.
Velasco said his agency is now just waiting for the signed papers from Malacañang that will formally appoint him as MWSS Chair and Morales as the MWSS administrator.
“We should receive it maybe by the end of the month. There will be a turnover ceremony,” Velasco said in a Manila Bulletin report.
Velasco’s term is really set to expire on June 30. His being replaced by Morales simply meant President Rodrigo Duterte didn’t reappoint him and instead recommended him to preside the MWSS Board of Directors.
“As a chairman, I will preside all the MWSS board meetings. But the agency’s day to day operations will now be handled by Morales,” Velasco said.