THE Water Authority of Fiji has clarified that the sudden increase in water bills for some of its customers was because of a new estimation method used to calculate bills.
In a press conference yesterday, authority chief executive officer Opetaia Ravai said the issue with lots of customers was a result of the new 100 units system used to estimate water bills.
Mr Ravai said the new system resulted in those receiving bills of $7.50 increasing to $30.
"That decision was based on average consumption of domestic household but we have since reviewed that decision and are immediately stopping the estimation of 100 units and reverting back to the old methodology which takes the average of previous usage," he said.
He said the estimation of bills would now be based on the previous six months period of usage of an average household.
Mr Ravai said those customers who received increased bills as a result of the new 100 units or estimation would have their account credited accordingly.
He outlined that the charging of the standard minimum 100 units estimated usage bills was based on the average consumption per average household in Fiji within a three months billing period as opposed to the underestimated usage in the past.
Mr Ravai said the reason for withdrawing the use of the new system and moving to the six months past usage to calculate the average was because of increased customer concerns.
He also clarified that WAF estimated bills for a number of reasons. "Estimation is done for ceased meters, where we cannot access the meter, locked gates and ferocious dogs."
Some WAF customers would also have their water bills increased soon.
The authority said it would replace old water meters that had been in existence for more than 20 years with new ones to get accurate readings.
Mr Ravai said some old meters had been giving reduced and inaccurate readings.
"If 20 units of water is used, the old meters only register about eight units," he said.
"A total of about 27,000 meters needs to be replaced but we will focus on replacing at least 15,000 this year," he said.