The Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) organised a workshop on 08 December, 2022 themed ‘Tariffs Review Process’ as part of building capacity of LEWA- Maseru District Committee.
The workshop was organised as part of the Authority’s drive to promote civic education on reviewing tariff applications. The workshop targeted District Committees to help them understand the tariffs review process and further educate other stakeholders in their respective places or organisations.
In her opening remarks, the Authority’s Consumer Affairs Officer, Mrs. ‘Machabalala Koatsa, gave a detailed account of the Authority’s mandate to enable attendees to understand their role in assisting the Authority to achieve its mandate. In the same manner, LEWA’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sebusi Khanyela, explained to the Committee members that the workshop was carried-out at a time when there was a public outcry following the Authority’s approval of a 7.8579% increase of the Lesotho Electricity Company’s (LEC) energy and maximum demand charges for the Financial Year 2022/23.
As this was an open and participatory engagement, the LEWA-Maseru District Committee expressed its appreciation of the Authority’s efforts in promoting civic education. The Committee recommended that frequent workshops should be held to ensure continuous capacity-building. On behalf of the Committee, the Chairperson, Mr. Mathibeli Ramaliehe, indicated that he was satisfied with the knowledge he has gathered from the workshop and that the workshop has strengthened the Committee’s understanding of the LEWA’s mandate as well to appreciate the role that the Committee plays.
He promised that the Committee would further share the knowledge gathered from the workshop with different communities in Maseru. He concluded by indicating that the Committee would always invest its time in promoting the Authority’s civic engagement efforts.
In explaining the tariffs review process, Mr. Lira Sekantsi (Manager-Economic Regulation) indicated that every service provider licensed to carry out a regulated activity is obliged to lodge an application with the Authority for review of any proposals related to the prices of electricity, urban water and sewerage services. In addition, he mentioned that upon receipt of the application, the Authority assesses each application for compliance with Regulatory Instruments, mainly: the LEWA Tariff Filing and Review Procedure for Electricity and Water Tariff Applications. He further mentioned that an application filed with the Authority is subjected to public participation processes, so that inputs from customers and interested stakeholders can be considered when assessing the application. Therefore, the Authority would publish the application through all media platforms for stakeholders’ inputs, comments and suggestions.
He explained that, on the application analysis, the Authority, among others, considers the cost drivers that include the economic performance, stakeholders’ affordability and the regulated utility’s sustainability in providing quality services and conformance to set regulatory standards.
Of importance to note is that an application becomes effective three months after filing unless the Authority issues a notice of modification or a counter. The Authority’s Board will make a final decision on the application, which will be published across various media platforms.
The LEWA-Maseru District Committee also drew its Action Plan for the Financial Year 2023/24. The purpose of the plan is mainly to increase engagement efforts amongst diverse stakeholder representative groups in Maseru.