How well do you know your water bill?
Whether you’re a customer of Manila Water (eastern Metro Manila and Rizal) or Maynilad (western Metro Manila and northern portions of Cavite), let’s go through most important information you can find on your bill.
When we talk about utilities, electricity and internet connectivity often take a far superior advantage over water. However, the latter is more essential not only in our daily lives but also for our survival. From cooking to hygiene, every drop that comes out of your faucet is crucial to your everyday living.
Although the World Bank revealed that water consumption only accounts for 1.08 percent of average household consumption in the Philippines, the sector still faces gigantic problems such as 10 million Filipinos still not having access to water and the threat of a shortage. This became apparent last year when even the country’s capital faced shortage.
To combat this, we need to be savvy with our water usage—and the first step to become prudent in this understanding our household consumption, from the volume we use to the different charges incurred from the privilege of having pipelines connected to your home. To start it off, we’re here to explain all the components of your monthly water bill.
Water billing information explained
For customers of both Manila Water and Maynilad, here are the most important information you can find on your bill:
A. Basic charge
This is the metered cost of your water consumption. However, there’s more to your basic charge than just volume of water that was used in your household. According to Manila Water, this also includes the “cost of operating, maintaining, improving and expanding the distribution network, as well as the facilities responsible for bringing potable water to the end user.”
They compute the basic charge using a tariff schedule approved by Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS), the government agency that gave Manila Water and Maynilad the concessionary rights to distribute, operate, and maintain water facilities in Metro Manila and adjacent service areas.
Also known as the foreign currency differential adjustment, this is a certain percentage of your basic charge that’s based on the exchange rate of the Philippine peso against foreign currencies. For second quarter of 2020, the FCDA is 1.69 percent of your bill’s basic charge.
What is this for? The MWSS gave both Manila Water and Maynilad the authority to operate as water utility providers as concessionaires. Both companies pay their concession fees using foreign-denominated currency such as US dollar, Japanese yen, and euro. Because the foreign currency exchange market changes price from time to time, they have to factor in the fluctuations in the exchange rate as they use local currency to buy foreign denomination.
C. Environmental charge
To offset the environmental impact of waterworks and sewerage operations, both companies charge 20 percent of the sum of basic charge and FCDA. The funds are supposed to be used to maintain ailing sewerage systems and prevent them from contaminating our water supply.
D. Sewer charge
For residential accounts, don’t worry about this if it always says zero. The rate for residential units will be zero percent while commercial and industrial accounts will receive a 30-percent sewer charge.
E. Maintenance service charge
To make sure that your meter has correct readings and they can be repaired or replaced when malfunctioning or broken, they charge a tiny amount to every account. For a 13mm meter, which is the most common for most residential accounts, the charge is P1.50.
F. Value-added tax (VAT)
To compute your water bill’s VAT, you multiply 12 percent of the sum of the ones above (A to E). This goes directly to the government.
G. Payment incentive adjustment
Exclusive to Maynilad customers, this is a tiny incentive offered by the company to customers who diligently pay their bills. That means you pay your bills on time and in full.
H. Other charges
When you request for services such as desludging of septic tanks, connection or reconnection of your line, and others, the companies use resources to deliver those services. They usually are listed under this billing.
I. Previous unpaid amount
If you have either missed or did not make full payment of your previous bills, you will find the amount here.
Post-ECQ water bill explained
When parts of the country have been placed under enhance community quarantine (ECQ) last March, the restrictions made it impossible for both companies to get a reading of your water meter. This means that there were no bills for the months of April and May—and payment beyond online or mobile channels impossible.
To give people some relief during the most crucial stages of the quarantine, water service providers deferred payment for the months of March to May. Now that we’re under general community quarantine (GCQ), here are some things you need to know about your upcoming water bill.
For starters, the companies weren’t able to get your total consumption from March to April. With the moderate loosening of restrictions last month due to modified ECQ, water billers were finally able to make a reading of your actual consumption. This will reflect in your bill as total actual consumption. For Maynilad, it will be your cubic meter usage for March to June and either February to May or March to June for Manila Water customers.
Just like in your Meralco bill, you may see an increase in consumption in your household due to the ECQ months being the peak season of water usage as well as almost all members of the family in your house because of the quarantine.
Manila Water and Maynilad bill relief program
If you haven’t settled your bills and you need more time to pay your consumption from March to June, the MWSS ordered the two companies to allow installment of dues until July 31. By giving people enough time to settle their bills, they can avoid disconnection of services.
For lifeline customers, which are households with consumption of up to 10 cubic meters per month, their deadline is extended for up to another month until August 31, 2020. According to the company, their Lifeline consumers mostly “belong to low-income households.”
What happens after July 31 for non-lifeline customers? Once we enter August, the MWSS gave the green light to the concessionaires to disconnect the services of households that are not able to pay their dues.
To settle your bill, we highly encourage you to use your bank’s online bills payment function. In addition, mobile wallets like GCash or PayMaya also allows you to pay your water bills without the need to go to physical payment centers.
Stay safe and stay hydrated!