Intermunicipal water utility company Vivaqua is seeking permission from Brussels regulator Brugel to increase tap water tariffs by 14.5% due to inflation and maintenance costs.
High inflation and spectacular increases in energy and material prices are causing an explosion in Vivaqua's costs, the company told Belga News Agency.
The cost of works on the network and production infrastructure also increased by an average of 19% in 2022, while staff salaries were indexed five times, representing an additional cost of €10 million. As water prices are not automatically indexed, Vivaqua's revenues no longer cover costs.
Vivaqua stresses that the indexation of tariffs and the 2% savings in expenditure are necessary for the continuity of its essential activities for the Brussels population and the economic fabric. It also added that despite the indexation, the price of water in the Brussels-Capital Region remains the lowest in the country.
The request to Brugel consists of an indexation of 14.5% for 2023 and of 4.1% in 2024 based on the OECD's forecasts for Belgium. In subsequent years, the indexation would be at 2%.
In a press release, Brussels Minister Alain Maron said that access to drinking water for vulnerable households would continue to be guaranteed. Maron will therefore propose to the Brussels Government to increase the amount of the social allowance for the affected households. "The aim is to minimise the price increase for the 160,000 affected households."