52% of Penang users will only pay RM6.20 per month

GEORGE TOWN: Although Penang’s water tariff will go up by 150% starting Feb 1, more than half of its domestic users will only pay the equivalent of RM6.20 per month or RM12.40 every billing cycle, say state officials.

“This is because about 52% of consumer accounts never use more than 20,000 litres a month,” said state infrastructure committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari.

ALSO READ: Water tariffs to go up across the peninsula

“This puts them in the new water tariff band of 55 sen per 1,000 litres – for those who use 20,000 litres and below a month.

“The minimum charge will be RM5.50 per month.

“But including the imbalance cost passed through the cost of electricity, the minimum total bill will be RM6.20 per month,” Zairil said.

Since Penang homes are billed for water once every two months, this will translate to a minimum of RM12.40 per bill.

Low income groups and the poor would be eligible for a RM10 rebate through various schemes to assist them in defraying the higher water price, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

These include the Mesra Keluarga Rebate programme for B40 households and Mutiara Rebate programme for e-kasih recipients and the hardcore poor.

Under the new Penang water tariff scheme, consumers will be charged according to five bands which are: 55 sen per 1,000 litres for 20,000 and below a month, RM1.10 per litre for 20,000 to 35,000 litres a month and RM2 per 1,000 litres for those who use more than 35,000 litres a month.

“It is known that Penangites are one of the highest water consumers in the country. The less you use, the less you pay,” said Chow.

“It has been 31 years since the water tariff was increased in Penang, with the last one being in 1993,” he told a press conference.

“It cannot remain the same. If there is no change, then there will be no funds for (water) projects.

“We need to change the perception as there are many challenges, including ageing infrastructure.

“We postponed the adjustment of tariffs for so long and the impact has caused delays in new infrastructure projects,” he said.

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