The last increase for Aysa users was applied in May 2019
After the hearings for the increase in gas and electricity rates, this Thursday, May 19, it will be the turn of the public hearing for the increase in water rates, which have been frozen for three years. From the Aysa company they requested new rate schedules with an increase of 20% as of July —which will impact the August bill— and another 10% as of October, which gives an accumulated increase of 32%.
Unlike other services that have already had increases, in the case of water, it will be the first rate for water during the Alberto Fernández administration: the last increase was applied in May 2019 with a rise of 27% that recomposed the previous inflation.
Once this increase is applied, the company’s rate income would allow it to cover just 20% of operating expenses
Although the Government planned this increase as the only one for the whole year, sources close to the Aysa company admitted that with an increase of 32% accumulated they fall “short”: once this increase is applied, the company’s tariff income would barely cover 20% of operating, improvement and maintenance expenses.
One of the costs that increased the most this year was spending on energy, which is going to double compared to last year (from $5.5 billion to $10 billion). For this reason, they are already evaluating requesting, later, a new increase to be applied after October. One of the arguments is that the increases that will be approved for the rates of other public services —such as gas and electricity— will be 42.7% for the entire year.
From Aysa they will analyze a greater use of meters for the water service (AYSA Press)
In addition, they contemplate that a tariff segmentation can also be applied, based on the geographical location of the users and their income levels, as will be done with gas and electricity services from the approval of the scheme presented in the public hearings of those services that were held during the past week.
The new rate scheme that will be promoted by the company led by Malena Galmarini must also go through a public hearing and be finally authorized by the Water and Sanitation Regulatory Entity (Eras). According to Aysa estimates, if the proposed increase is applied, the average bill for non-metered residential users with the two services (drinking water and sewage) would be $744.10 from July (excluding taxes) and $818.60 from October.
If the proposed increase is applied, the average bill for unmetered residential users would be $744.10 from July (excluding taxes) and $818.60 from October
In detail: users of the lower income segments today pay an average of $190 per month; for the middle segments, the average bill is $500 and for those with higher incomes, it is around $980 per month.
An increase in the company’s budget allocated to the social rate is also contemplated, which will go from about $792 million to $1,052 million, which allows subsidizing access to the service for some 250,000 beneficiaries out of a total of 3.2 million.
After the hearings for gas and electricity rates, the hearings for water will be held (Photo by Gustavo Gavotti / Infobae)
The state company is analyzing implementing several changes in the way it bills users. In the first place, they do not rule out starting to segment customers according to their income levels and geographic location, with a scheme similar to the one that will be applied to gas and electricity. This will allow users with more purchasing power to pay a rate closer to the cost of the service.
Another initiative is that more users have access to a meter and pay for what they actually consume. A paradigm shift since, until now, the company’s policy was not to measure consumption. In the coming months, 400,000 meters will be installed in different areas of the country, including the AMBA. Although the measurement has several conflicting points that are still under analysis: one of them is that, contrary to what can be assumed, when measuring, users with lower incomes pay more.
In the next few days, Aysa will launch a program together with the Ministry of Commerce to incorporate a basic kit of supplies into the Now 12 program to connect to the service
Also on the company’s agenda is providing facilities for users to connect to the network, a service that today costs from $100,000 for water connection to $200,000 for sewer connection. Among the initiatives, there are programs with the World Bank, which has already financed 30,000 connections for low-income families, and with the IDB.
In addition, in the next few days Aysa will launch a program together with the Ministry of Commerce to incorporate the financing program in installments with cards, Now 12, a basic kit of supplies to connect to the service and also maintain its price for a few months.
According to company data, if the tariff increases proposed for Thursday’s hearing are approved, its revenues will increase by $2.772 million, but any delay in the application will generate an increase in the deficit. Although the proposal does not close the expense coverage gap, it prevents its expansion. As a result, revenues would be $33,633 million for 2022. While the expected operating expenses for this year are $96,756 million, 55% more than at the end of 2021.
Unchecked inflation: the food basket for April exceeded $45,000 and was above the increase set for the minimum wage They warn that recovering the delay in energy and transportation rates is equivalent to 60 more points of inflation