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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Periscope: High Prices for Low Quality Services

More than two years ago the Water and Electricity Administrations attributed the low supply and quality of water and electricity

to the low tariffs they charge consumers. At the same time promised that if these tariffs are increased they will able to provide better supply and quality services.
So, tariffs were doubled legally and sometimes illegally as the media reported lately that the Legislative Assembly is investigating these increases, but as consumers we feel daily these undeclared increases.
What is worst that despite these high costs the services and quality have not improved but degraded more.
Some of the problems of electric cuts is the slow response by the emergency service to reports of electric supply accidents resulting for example from high winds or rains. These incidents are caused mainly by the low quality of the electric polls and wires used in erection in the first time.
In the semi rural areas like where we live in the Journalists City in the Green Valley, the response to electric cuts reports  due to malfunctions of the supply installations wires and polls)  takes usually between  more than 12 hours and sometimes a whole day. Even then the maintenance is not proper and the same problem appears sometimes the next day.
The electronic reporting system is designed in such a way that it costs the consumer a lot of expenses in Mobile fees to report an accident.
All these are indications of the incompetence and absence of any accountability systems in these institutions in addition to the complete non-transparency in their costing and accounting systems.
In the case of the Water Administration it should be awarded a prize for failure to deliver of any promise, the quality of the water is almost without treatment at the households’ levels by boiling, very harmful to health. At the same time, no one knows where the additional revenue obtained from doubling the tariffs has gone. This is because the administration is not subject to any real accountability by the legislative assemblies at state and national levels.
So, what is the solution? We think that the solution is a very bitter medicine. That is the real privatization of these services. This needs a very high degree of transparency, accountability and governance which is not a very easy task to enact at the present environment.
Also, the problem of exemptions from tariffs have to be addressed  because it is totally  unacceptable that such a huge number of institutions and constitutional  posts holders have unlimited free services while the majority of the population pay heavily for these services there must be a limit for the exemptions above which they must pay like any ordinary citizens.
But all this said at the end without a comprehensive structural reform of these two sectors , water and electricity administrations, based on scientific and technical studies beyond the bias of personal and professional interest and in a very transparent method, we will continue to pay high prices for low quality services.