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MWSS slaps Maynilad with P9.264M fine in form of customer rebates

Customers of the Maynilad Water Services Inc. in the southern part of its concession area can expect bill rebates in November as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Wednesday announced a P9.264-million fine for ‘unusual and prolonged’ service interruptions in the past months.

According to MWSS chief regulator Patrick Lester Ty, the total amount of P9,264,358 will be shared by Maynilad customers who experienced service interruptions from May to July 2022.

This is the second-biggest fine imposed on Maynilad and was calculated as 25% of the cost needed to fix the issues which involve mainly the Putatan Water Treatment Plant (PWTP).

“The said penalty will be implemented in the form of bill rebates to affected customers by November,” Ty said in a virtual briefing.

“The nature, scope, and other details of the rebate program will further be discussed in October during a public information drive which will be conducted by the MWSS-RO (Regulatory Office),” he added.

Maynilad provides water and wastewater services to residents in most parts of the City of Manila; northern and western parts of Quezon City; western parts of Makati City; and the cities of Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, Navotas, and Malabon in Metro Manila.

It also serves the municipalities of Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario, as well as the cities of Bacoor and Imus, in the province of Cavite.

Ty said investigations conducted by MWSS showed that Maynilad was not able to provide 24/7 water supply at a minimum pressure of 7 pounds per square inch (psi) for at least 15 days to a number of customers in Las Piñas City, Muntinlupa City, Parañaque City, and the Cavite province during the said period.

The MWSS RO earlier this year already penalized Maynilad for unusual and prolonged service interruptions within the PWTP supply zone, equivalent to a rebate of P323 in the April bill.

Ty said the agency has been coordinating with Maynilad regarding the matter and has already informed the concessionaire of the penalties.

“We investigated all of the excuses or basically the response of Maynilad on why there was a water service interruption. We had this investigated, we conducted interviews with customers, and we also met with representatives of Maynilad,” he said.

Ty said a public information drive is scheduled next month to ensure that affected customers are made aware that they are entitled to a rebate, with Maynilad given until December to submit a report regarding the matter.

“With regard to the service in the south, it has significantly improved. We have no reports right now of prolonged water service interruptions,” he added.

Maynilad to comply

Sought for comment, Maynilad said it will comply with the order as it explained that the service interruptions for the period came after an algal bloom in Laguna Lake which affected the water production of the PWTP.

“Our ability to provide uninterrupted water service during the period was severely hampered by the unprecedented extent of the algal bloom that altered the raw water quality in Laguna Lake,” it said in a separate statement sent via mobile message.

“Algal bloom is beyond our control, being a product of both natural and industrial causes,” it added.

Maynilad also said it has been “consistently” investing in upgrades for the PWTP, but the Laguna Lake should be protected from further degradation.

“We continue to work closely with all Laguna Lake stakeholders to ensure that it is protected, so that the lake’s potential as a long-term supply source for drinking water can be fully realized,” it said.—AOL, GMA News