Increases are coming. Water and sewage tariffs will increase

Taryfy za wodę i ścieki

Faced with rising operating costs and the need to modernize infrastructure, residents of many Polish municipalities can expect significant increases in water and sewage fees later this year. With the end of existing tariffs, water and sewerage companies face the challenge of updating prices to reflect increased expenses for system maintenance and development.

Water and wastewater tariffs will increase in 2024, by how much?

Currently, the rules for determining water and sewage charges are regulated by the Law of June 7, 2001. on collective water supply and collective sewage disposal. According to its provisions, 120 days before the expiration of the 3-year term of the existing tariff, the water and sewerage company should submit an application for approval of a new tariff to the regulatory authority, which is still Wody Polskie.

In 2024. For many municipalities, the existing fee rates are coming to an end. Residents of many cities and municipalities can expect larger water and sewage bills. According to data provided to PAP’s Local Government Service by Wody Polskie, they will average 33 percent. In the case of water prices, and 40 percent. – For sewage disposal. For example, as of May 24, according to the new tariff, residents of Sopot will pay PLN 1.27/m3 more for water and PLN 1.58/m3 more for wastewater. Increases will also affect residents of Suwałki, who from tomorrow will pay up to 35 percent. more.

Water and sewage companies in increasingly dire financial straits

Rising water and sewage charges in many Polish cities are the result of the difficult financial situation of water and sewage companies. According to the Chamber of Commerce of Polish Waterworks (IGWP) in the first quarter of this year. nearly 65 percent. of them suffered a loss.

This state of affairs is the result of high inflation, energy price increases, increases in wastewater treatment costs, and the minimum wage. As a result, companies lack the resources to make necessary investments. The survey, conducted among entities by IGWP, shows that 75 percent. of them withheld in 2024 for this reason. Implementation of modernization and investment works.

In addition, water and wastewater companies currently also face challenges in adapting their operations to the new requirements of EU directives. These include. the quality of drinking water, which we wrote more about in the 3/2024 issue of Water Matters; the collection, treatment and discharge of urban wastewater(Directive 91/271/EEC); and network and information security(NIS2 Directive). The associated costs, without the implementation of increases in water and sewage fees, could therefore further reduce their profitability.

We can expect more frequent fee increases in the future

The current poor financial condition of water and sewage companies is due to current regulations related to setting water and sewage tariffs. They prevent entities from making rates realistic on an ongoing basis. On top of that, they involve a complicated process for requesting their change.

The solution to this problem is to be The draft law on amendments to the Law on Collective Water Supply and Collective Sewage Disposal and the Law – Water Law published in the list of legislative works in April this year. It will introduce a partial restoration of regulations in effect before the provisions of the Law of October 27, 2017. (OJ. 2017 item. 2180). As a result, it will again be the municipal councils that will have the authority to approve water and wastewater tariffs. This will be done by municipal resolution every year, rather than every three years as before.

However, to protect the community from abuse by water and sewerage companies, the authors of the proposed law propose a solution. According to him: if the draft tariff implies an increase in the prices and rates of the new tariff for sewage disposal or water supply to an amount that exceeds by at least 15 percent. average prices and rates of tariffs for sewage disposal or water supply in a given water region – in effect in the previous year – then a position of the regulatory authority on approval of the tariff will be required.

Watersheds will still be responsible for analyzing the draft tariffs with justification. As a result, water and sewage service providers will gain a tool that will allow them to maintain liquidity, while we, in turn, will not have to worry about drastic, one-time increases in water and sewage fees.

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