17th October, 2023
Kaloleni Ward MCA, Hon Azhar Din, has today sought to know the reasons why water bills are ballooning, as noted from the outcry among residents of Voi Sub-County and the whole County at large.
In a statement sought from the Chairperson of Water Committee, Hon. Azhar said that over the last few weeks, his phone has been awash with messages of complaints from citizens of inflated water bills.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, over the last two weeks my phone and office have been flooded with complaints from citizens in my Ward and other places within Voi Sub- County about inflated water bills, with some of the customers experiencing double, even triple water charges this month. This comes in spite of an announcement by TAVEVO Water Company on new tariffs which were rolled out on 1st September, 2023, which were supposedly meant to eliminate charges on zero consumption, meter rent and standing charges,” said Hon. Azhar.
Azhar has asked to know the cause of the increased charges despite reviewed water tariffs, adding that the bills that he has seen from some of the complainants look ridiculous.
Further, Azhar expressed his concerns that TAVEVO Water Company might not have done full disclosure on the effect of the new water tariffs to the bills, while questioning whether enough public participation was done.
The Jubilee legislator further wants to know what TAVEVO Water Company has done to mitigate meter inaccuracies occasioned by expulsion of air from user pipes and other causes to cushion its customers from unfair charges. He also wants answers on whether the company is planning to do an audit of bills, meters and the piping to ensure that consumers are charged only for what they consume.
Azhar asked whether TAVEVO has forgotten its core mandate to supply clean affordable water to the citizens and whether they more focused on profits than provision of water.
Azhar retorted, “Inflating water bills at this juncture when the cost of living is so high, is tantamount to committing atrocities against human rights and TAVEVO needs to provide answers on the inconsistencies between water tariffs and water bills!”
Ngolia MCA, Hon. Johnes Solomon, while speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of Water Committee expressed his displeasure in the inefficiencies, adding that ‘water is life’ and that this right must be granted to the Citizens. He further added that the Committee will provide a response to the Statement within two weeks.
Marungu Ward MCA, Hon. Stephen Nzai, supported the Statement sought by Hon. Azhar and expressed his disappointment that connection of water is taking as long as 6 months, with TAVEVO claiming that there are no meters. Nzai claimed that he has information that meters are available but the current system of connecting citizens to water in good time is frustrating these efforts.
Hon. Hope Anisa Mwakio, specially elected MCA, also spoke to the Statement adding that all Kenyans have a right to access to clean and affordable water. The ODM legislator added that this matter needs to be addressed urgently. Anisa observed that she has been billed before based on estimates up to an amount of Ksh 50,000, saying that this kind of treatment must be harder for the common Mwananchi and that TAVEVO must be held accountable.
Hon. Daniel Kimuyu, Mahoo Ward MCA, also added his sentiments to the statement saying that the outcry on bills has been heard even in Taveta. Kimuyu, who congratulated Hon. Azhar for the Statement, questioned the value for money of these bills, while adding that TAVEVO needs to follow their customer service charter to the latter.
Mwatate Ward MCA, Hon. Joseph Kennedy Mwalegha also remarked that this issue of ballooning water bills cuts across the County, noting that he has received similar and numerous complaints from his citizens in Mwatate on paying for ‘air’ as water bills do not reflect the amount of water received.
Wiper Nominated MCA, Hon. Rose Shingira, termed TAVEVO as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ adding that citizens are now paying higher water bills than power bills, yet most citizens receive water only twice per week. Shingira said that if all these complaints persist, then the County should disband TAVEVO for failing to deliver on its core mandate.
Chawia Ward MCA, Hon. Joseph Mabishi, also supported the statement decrying the inefficiencies in TAVEVO which have led to disillusionment of the Citizens, while noting that this case also applies to his Ward. Mabishi said that TAVEVO, which has proven to have failed in its mandate based on all the complaints, needs to be audited and drastic measures taken, even if it means putting in place a law that will introduce a Water Company that will serve the people efficiently and effectively.
Photo credits: TMW