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Maynilad Water files for arbitration versus MWSS for lowering rates

Maynilad Water Services Inc. on Friday sought official arbitration against regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for reducing its water rates instead of granting the higher fees it proposed.
In an e-mailed statement, west zone concessionaire Maynilad Water said it filed a notice of dispute with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to resolve its dispute with MWSS.
"This is pending the ICC Chairman’s appointment of a presiding arbitrator to the Appeals Panel of Maynilad," the concessionaire said.
Maynilad Water head of corporate communications Cherubim Mojica said they were prohibited by lawyers to comment beyond the issue.
Earlier, Maynilad said the decision to reduce its water tariff is "unjustified" and may cause disruption in its operations to the detriment of customers.
A notice of dispute officially commences the arbitration process.
In a Sept. 12 resolution, MWSS denied a Maynilad Water petition to raise by 28.35 percent to P8.58 per cubic meter its average basic charge. Instead the regulator approved a downward adjustment of 4.82 percent or P1.46 per cubic meter in five equal tranches of minus 0.964 percent or P0.29 per cubic meter a year.
Starting October, water rates are going down after the MWSS Regulatory Office turned down separate petitions concessionaires Maynilad Water and Manila Water Company Inc. to raise water rates in their respective concession areas.
The current water rates will continue to apply until a final decision is reached by an arbitration panel composed of a member appointed by Maynilad, a member appointed by MWSS, and a third member, the appeals chairman or presiding arbitrator, appointed by the ICC chairman.
On September 24, Manila Water  filed a dispute notice before the ICC after MWSS denied a proposed rate increase and instead reduced the water fees of the east zone concessionaire.
The MWSS board approved a minus 29.47 percent adjustment to be implemented in five equal tranches of -5.894 percent a year when it was seeking a basic rate increase of P5.83 per cubic meter on its average basic water charge of P24.57 per cubic meter. - Danessa Rivera/VS, GMA News