Javea water authority accused of dubious practice

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JAVEA ratepayers are being charged way over-the-top for their water supply, and in some cases author Clive Read suggests the figure could be as high as 67 per cent, according to an article published in a local freesheet.

The article accuses the council controlled water company AMJASA of ‘Slippery and dubious business practices’ and says that although the company claim charges have not increased under new town hall management, in reality they have virtually tripled for many users.

The source of the problem seems to be in how a user interprets the official sliding scale of consumption which show three different prices bands, each related to volume used between metre readings.

According to the present scale of charges, the first 10 cubic metres of water consumed could either cost a householder a total of €1.50 or €18.60 depending on how much extra is consumed between meter readings.

A late reading could prove to be extremely expensive for the customer.

AMJASA water charges quote 15 cents a cubic metre for the first 10 units, then 63 cents from 11 to 40, €1.37 from 41 to 70 and 1.86 above €70.

But if a consumer slips into the next higher price band by just one cubic metre, all units are then charged at the higher band price, not just the one unit.

For instance, the cost of using just 10 cubic metres would normally be €1.50, but according to Clive Read, if the consumption leaked into 11 cubic metres, the price would rise to €6.93, an extra €5.43 for just a few extra drips.

As the article suggests; an illogical pricing policy that penalises the consumer for increasing AMJASA’s sales and profitability.

The EWN contacted Amjasa CEO Jose Luis Henarejos for his reaction to the claims of unfair pricing. Although he was away on business, he reacted quickly and was most helpful.

Unfortunately he does seem to have missed the point Clive Read was making in his accusations of a lack of transparency in pricing standards.

This is Jose Luis Henarejos official answer. “Amjasa continues to charge in the same way and at the same rates since 2003. All m3 are billed at the same price. If you consume more than 70m3 in two months it is charged at €1.86. If you consume more than 40 m3 in two months it is charged at €1.37.

“The water rates are clearly stated on the website of the Town Hall. Our charges have been approved by the Price Commission of the Generalitat Valenciana, and are therefore legal, although they could be changed.

We do not wish to raise the rates, but we would have to study the accounts to keep the company from bankruptcy should we wish to lower the water rates.

But it must be borne in mind that the water desalination plant costs about €4,000,000. Of that €2,000,000 is to pay for the finance obtained to make the investment.

We are now in a period of drought which today is not a problem for the inhabitants of Javea. Denia has decided against building a desalination plant because water prices would have to rise.

Imagine, if we had no desalination plant today, costs would be much higher in Javea.

The good news is that during the coming months, our neighbouring towns will be buying water from Amjasa.”

Note: Clive Read is Pastor of the Javea Evangelical Church.

By Benny Davis

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