Water surprise for city
If your water bills seem a tad too large, it is not because of a faulty water meter. Look, rather, at the small print at the back of your water bill.delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2011 23:23 IST
If your water bills seem a tad too large, it is not because of a faulty water meter. Look, rather, at the small print at the back of your water bill.
When Delhi Jal Board, the city’s sole water utility, increased the water charges two-and-half times in January 2010, it also made a provision for an automatic 10% increase every year for the next four years.
Although the fine print of every bill sent since mentioned a calculation for this, most residents claim they were unaware of the basic rule.
“There is a chart on the back of the bill that gives the new calculation but it doesn’t say in black and white that the water charges have gone up by 10%,” said a senior DJB official.
So an average household that consumes 50 kilolitres of water (around 5,000 buckets) every two months and is charged R1,800, is paying R1,960 since January 2011. Till 2014, every year, the bill will go up by 10% of the amount paid in December.
The resident welfare associations claim they are not aware of any such clause. “Such a clause has never been mentioned to us,” said Vijay Arora, member of Lajpat Nagar Resident Welfare Association (RWA).
“Merely posting the tariff on their website does not mean they have advertised it,” said VK Arora, a member of Krishna Nagar RWA in east Delhi.
While advertising in case of a tariff hike is the usual procedure, the DJB claims the information is on its website and can be easily accessed by the public. The officials also said the 2010 hike in water charges had come after five years. Three major factors — increase in wages, power cost and inflation — are taken into consideration while determining a hike.
“In view of the recent power tariff hike, we will have to increase water charges in 2012 by 10%, which is the standard enhancement approved by the board,” said Ramesh Negi, chief executive officer of DJB. “Maybe one or two customers are not aware but our bills are going with revised charges since January 2011.”