Having nailed down a broadly comprehensive tariff structure for the electricity sector in the Sultanate of Oman, the Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR) is now seeking to roll out a similar strategy for the country’s newly restructured water and wastewater sector.
To this end, the Authority – whose broad mandates include the regulation of the water services sector in Oman – has invited qualified consultants to bid for its contract to assist it in the development of a tariff strategy for the country’s water sector.
A major restructuring of the water services sector that was completed about two years ago resulted in the creation of two new entities to oversee the provision of potable water, wastewater services and sale of treated effluent. Oman Water and Wastewater Services Co (OWWSC), the larger of the two entities, has a geographical remit encompassing all of Oman, with the exception of Dhofar Governorate. Responsibility for Dhofar is entrusted to Dhofar Integrated Services Company (DISC).
The proposed new tariff structure, according to the Authority, will be comprehensive. “The Authority is seeking to develop a tariff strategy for all charges to customers, for example including but not limited to the charges for service connections, disconnection/reconnection charges, meter inspection charges that will support these benefits being realised,” it stated in a backgrounder on its initiative.
An estimated 650,000 customers are connected to the piped water networks of OWWSC, accounting for around 70 per cent of the country’s total residential population (outside of Dhofar Governorate). The rest are served by water tankers. In the south of the country, DISC covers customers in its licence area via a system of piped networks and tanker-based supply.
In addition, the two entities also have in place arrangements to meet the bulk supply needs of industrial cities and free zones, Integrated Tourism Complexes and select residential neighbourhoods, besides supporting tanker-based supply networks. Furthermore, around 30 Investor Private Networks -- privately owned networks that provide piped supply to customers in authorised areas within OWWSC’s licence – cater to customers varying in size from 100 connections to over 2,000 connections.
Significantly, a key underlying objective behind the Water Sector Tariff Strategy is to “unify” the somewhat disparate tariffs currently being applied by the licensed operators for different types of services provided across the sector. Another equally important goal is to achieve a progressive reduction in the sizable government subsidy currently being enjoyed by consumers, according to the Authority.
APSR is expected to shortly name its choice of a suitable consultant for the Water Sector Tariff Strategy.
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