Residents in Bengaluru may soon be forced to shell out more for their water bills as the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is mulling a hike of 12% in monthly water bills for domestic users. If approved by the government, this will be the first hike by the BWSSB in six years. The proposal comes even as electricity charges in the state were recently hiked.
In 2014, the BWSSB had increased the minimum water tariff from Rs 48 to Rs 57 per month and the minimum monthly bill from Rs 83 to Rs 100 for domestic usage. Since then, proposals to hike the water bill in 2017 and 2018 were rejected by the government. In January 2019, a similar proposal of hiking water bills by around 30% was floated by the BWSSB, but that too, was not approved by the government.
“The latest proposal has been pending with the government since February. With the electricity bill hike approval this week, we have again approached the government to approve our demand,” a BWSSB official told TNM on condition of anonymity.
Incidentally, it is Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa who currently holds the portfolio of Bengaluru Development, under which BWSSB operates. Officials say that this hike is necessary as the BWSSB will have to pay more for electricity charges with the hike in power tariffs by BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company).
As widely reported on Wednesday, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) had approved a hike of 40 paise per unit for all electricity supply companies in the state like BESCOM. Effectively for domestic consumers, this would mean power bills will be expensive by around 5% on average. This change was demanded by all the electricity supply companies in the state to strike a balance between the rise in demand and cost of supply amid rising costs of power and transmission.