K. Lakshmi

For consumers in mixed use building

CHENNAI: Chennai Metrowater has decided to issue separate bills for water consumption to each of the domestic and commercial consumers in mixed use buildings.

The new billing system for such consumers would be implemented from the quarter that began in July 2008, for which the bills are yet to be prepared, senior officials of Metrowater told The Hindu.

Under the system, the total water consumption in a mixed use building, with metered connections, would be divided by the number of user-household/establishments. While the households would be charged at the domestic slab rate, others in the building would be charged at the commercial rates. Domestic and commercial consumers having unmetered connections would be charged as per the existing flat rate. (The water charges are levied for those buildings provided with water connection). Prior to July, the partly commercial rate was applicable for all users in such buildings, which was higher than the domestic rate. On implementation of the new system, the partly commercial rate would go.

The decision on separate bills was taken by the management committee of Metrowater following complaints from residents of such buildings about being charged more, even if water consumption levels are same, then those living in fully residential buildings, the official said.

Of the nearly six lakh water tax assesses, there were about 49,000 households located in mixed use buildings. The decision was also driven by the increase in the number of such mixed use buildings, the official said. On the water metering system, the official said Metrowater was now focussed on installing meters in the multi-storeyed and water intensive buildings. Of the nearly 13,000 buildings identified in the category so far, about 6,200 have installed water meters.

Pointing to the other initiatives of Metrowater in recent months, an official said slab rate would be applied for each apartment in a complex with metered connection after dividing the total consumption by the number of flats in the complex. This would reduce the burden on the consumers, as they would be categorised in a lower slab. A single consolidated bill would be given in the name of the residents’ association. If a residential apartment complex does not have residents’ association, individual bills would be provided on request from the consumers.