THE rates the Water and Sewer Board (AyA) charges its customers increased by 36% last week. The rate hike was approved by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) and published in La Gaceta, the government’s official publication, the daily La Nación reported.
ARESEP also approved an additional 6% rate increase that will go into effect in January 2005. These measures will apply to AyA’s 500,000 customers.
As of now, the amount paid by a fivemember family for an average of 29 cubic meters will increase from ¢3,343 ($7.87) a month to ¢4,501 ($10.59). In 2005, that same family will pay ¢5,654 (approximately $12.29 taking into account the colón’s expected devaluation against the dollar).
Proposed increases total 42% – significantly less than the 78% increase AyA had originally requested.
As a condition for the increases, ARESEP is requiring AyA to ensure the quality and supply of water.
Before AyA can request additional rate hikes, it must improve its billing system and begin issuing regular reports on its performance.