Rates to go up on schedule say ASPA officials
American Samoa Power Authority officials told the Fono on Monday during ASPA’s budget review for fiscal year 2012 that the next rate increase which affects water and solid waste collection will go on as scheduled next month, despite pleas by some lawmakers to delay the hike.
Tualauta Reps. Larry Sanitoa and Galu Satele Jr., urged ASPA to postpone the next hike, arguing that the public cannot afford the current rates, which were implemented just five months ago. They argued that the current and future rate hikes are not affordable for many low income families at this time, when the economy is not doing well.
However, ASPA officials say ASPA needs additional revenue to address many infrastructure improvements that need to be carried out. One of the major projects for ASPA is the new Satala power plant, which will require ASPA to come up with matching funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded project.
As in past hearings, officials of the semi autonomous agency urged lawmakers to revisit local laws regarding the annual government subsidy for ASPA which has not been provided since 2002 and is now more than $12 million.
According to the ASPA rate sheet posted on its website
effective Oct. 1, 2011 the monthly water customer service charge for residential and business accounts will go up to $14.20 per month from the current $11.83.
The base water rate for residential and business water also increases — but the charge depends on usage or water consumption.
Residential water charge is currently $2.28 for every 1,000 gallons of usage up to 10,000 gallons a month. Usage between 10,001 and 20,000 gallons a month has a rate of $2.78 per 1,000 gallons.
But effective Oct. 1, it will jump to $2.73 for every 1,000 gallons for usage up to 10,000 gallons and $3.23 per 1,000 gallons, for usage up to 20,000.
For businesses, the base water rate hikes from $2.45 per thousand gallons to $2.95 effective Oct. 1.
In past testimony before the Fono and statements to the media, ASPA officials have pointed out that the less water used in a month, the lower it is for the monthly water bill.
ASPA officials urge consumers to conserve.
There will also be an increase in the groundwater contamination charge, which hikes from the current $15.75 per month to $16.25 per month for both residential and business service. Business also pays a ground water protection volume charge that will increase from the current $1.65 for every 1,000 gallons of water to the new rate of $1.75 per 1,000 gallons.
Regarding solid waste, the fee will jump from $6 to $7.20 a month for residential customers. However, for residential customers in multi-tenants units and/or with multiple meters, such as apartments — the rate will hike to $4.24 per month from $4.12.
Business rates differ according to size. For example, small general customers will go up to $58.08 from $52.80. For large general service and industrial customers, the new rate will be $338.80 from the current $308 per month.
Rates will also increase for “fire protection” which are rates applicable only to water use via a fire hydrant by the fire or police services within the Department of Public Safety.
Samoa News recommends that local residents and businesses take time to read the new rates on the ASPA website for further understanding of the cost of new service, because this is one of the issues that keeps coming up in the Fono as well as complaints from the public.