WASA denies submitting business plan to RIC

    0

    WASA says, contrary to reports/claims, it has not submitted a draft or final business plan to the Regulated Industries Commission regarding a rate increase.

    In a statement, the Authority says it has come to its attention that a document purporting to be the “DRAFT Business Plan for the Price Control Period 2022-2027” is in the possession of non-WASA personnel and is being quoted from and circulated to the media.

    It adds that the most disconcerting claim is that the document had been submitted to the RIC for determination of a rate proposal.

    In its lengthy statement, WASA stated the following:

    • WASA is desirous of a rate increase and has been preparing the required documents for submission to the RIC. The documents required by the RIC as part of this process include credible recurrent and capital investment plans, expenditure forecasts, and a business plan.
    • To date, WASA has not submitted a draft or final business plan to the RIC.
    • Any DRAFT Business plan and/or any version thereof is an internal WASA document and continues to be a work in progress within WASA.
    • Approval has not been sought or obtained for the implementation of any of the matters which arise de novo in any version of the DRAFT business plan.
    • To date, WASA has not received the approval for submission to the RIC of any of the documents that must be submitted for the purposes of the rate review exercise, save for the Cost of Service Study which is a factual examination of the cost to provide the service against the rates currently being received.
    • All documents being prepared for the purposes of the rate review have been prepared in WASA, by WASA – by committed, dedicated and experienced WASA staff. At this point, any and all views contained in any draft documents, represent the views of WASA and no other parties.
    • All documents prepared for the purposes of the rate review, including the purported draft, have been prepared without the input of the Ministry of Public Utilities or indeed any directive from any government official at all, save that WASA was required to take all steps necessary to progress the application to the RIC for a rate review. The RIC has set out, in several forms, what that will require of WASA.
    • Upon completion of the plan, WASA will seek the buy-in of the GORTT and hopefully thereafter the RIC, for the approach that WASA believes is necessary to achieve the aims set out in the business plan. Until such buy-in is received, the opinions and proposals contained in the DRAFT Business Plan remain the views of WASA and no other parties.
    • No efforts have been made to reach out to WASA by the media, or those members of the Opposition who claim to be in possession of a document purporting to be a version of the DRAFT Business Plan, to confirm or deny the relevance of the plan itself, or the nature or status of the purported DRAFT Business Plan.
    • WASA has not been provided with a copy of the document purporting to be the DRAFT Business Plan and is therefore unable to verify the content thereof. However, based on the utterances of those persons claiming to be in possession of same, WASA has formed the view that this document is an early iteration of WASA’s price control proposal. In any event, the intended DRAFT proposal has been considerably modified since the date of that version, which therefore does not represent significant and critical elements of WASA’s intended direction.
    • If this document is indeed any version of the DRAFT Business Plan being prepared by WASA, it is unfortunate that an internal WASA document, created by committed and dedicated staff of WASA, for WASA’s own benefit and more significantly, for the benefit of the people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, has been disseminated in this way, in breach of terms of employment and distinct agreements requiring confidentiality. Such dissemination would constitute a serious breach of confidentiality and those responsible will be identified and subjected to the appropriate disciplinary action.
    • The Report of the Cabinet Sub-Committee Appointed to Review the Operations of WASA and to Determine a Strategy for enabling the Authority to Achieve its Mandate sets out, among other things, that WASA is overstaffed by over 2000 employees. There have been several announcements by government officials since then, outlining the need for the transformation of the Authority and the several initiatives being undertaken pursuant to this goal – including a rate review.
    • At WASA, our goal continues to be to improve the service to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, and the implementation of the changes that are a necessary part of providing that improved level of supply and customer service. It is no secret that change is coming and that this change in WASA will impact every sector of the country positively but will also change the circumstances of a yet to be determined number of the current employees.