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New water rates substantially higher for small-scale users

Press Release UNKOBON

Starting 1 April 2018 the ACM (Authority for Consumers and Markets) will be following a new system to calculate water tariffs. The new system is a consequence of the Act on Electricity and Drinking Water on BES, which came into force on 1 July 2016.

WEB has managed to obtain a subsidy for most households of almost 85% of the fixed water tariff per 1 April 2018. This means a huge rise in expenses for almost all households has been averted. The fixed tariff remains $7 per month. The variable tariff of (rounded down) $3,76, however, is shifting the major costs from large-scale users to small-scale users.

Several reports have already stated that larger households are frequently formed on Bonaire because of financial necessity. Due to the new tariff system larger households will benefit hugely and relatively smaller households will be paying substantially more after 1 April 2018. Within the new system there was no room for social tariffs incorporated in the variable usage tariff.

An end to social tariff structure starting 1 April 2018

Within the old system, which will be in effect until 1 April 2018, small-scale users were protected. Next to a set tariff of $7 per month, there was a tariff of $0,69 per m³ for usage of 0-4 m³ per month, for the next 5-7 m³ a tariff of $2,81 per m³ and so the tariff rose to $9,43 for usage above 12 m³ per month. WEB financed the gap created by charging low tariffs to low users, by charging a higher tariff to large-scale users.

The 2016 Act cancels these social tariffs. From 1 April 2018 everyone will be paying $3,7638 per m³. Small-scale users will no longer be spared. Since 2016 Unkobon has been advocating to compensate the consequences of this cost rise in another way.

However, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment is not involved in determining the tariffs for electricity and water and Unkobon does not know whether there is a policy in place to moderate the consequences of the new system for small low-income households. Hopefully the Executive Council has requested additional funds to support the households in question.

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