A group of citizens has written a letter to the Municipal Council in relation to the increase in water price proposed by Mayor Erion Veliaj, on which the Council will decide today.
The citizens ask the council members not to approve the draft decision, arguing as follows:
- The Municipality argues that the UKT is not profitable as a company and needs more liquidity to do investments, but based on publicly available information, UKT has declared a profit in 2016 of €5 million. It is clearly not in the difficult financial situation that the Municipality claims it is in.
- The Municipality claims that the price increase will improve the service, but based on official information we think that the problems with the service are caused by the mismanagement of the company and not the tariffs. More concretely, according to the 2015 report of the Water Regulation Entity (ERrU), 66.7% of the water distributed by the UKT is not paid for, and this number increased to 67.1% in 2016. In practice, only 22.9% of the water is paid for, while the rest is stolen or abused causing considerable problems for the company. Clearly the problem is not the price but the management.
Today at 18:00 a protest has been announced in front of the Town Hall of Tirana, where the Council will gather.
So far, the PD and PR council members have declared that they vote against the draft decision, whereas the LSI council members have asked Mayor Veliaj to fulfill several conditions:
- Cutting illegal pipelines and stopping favoritism toward certain companies;
- Excluding families on welfare and pensioners from the price increase;
- Different prices for companies use water as part of their production process (breweries, etc.)
The Municipal Council will gather today at 18:00. Another item on the agenda is the controversial school concession scheme.