SOFIA WATER COMPANY FINED
The Sofia Water company will have to pay a fine of BGN500,000 due to unfulfilled commitments in the October 2001 - October 2002 period. Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiansky is expected to sign the order for the sanction by April 11, the company OMONIT (established in 2001 to effect control on the concessionaire's operation) announced. The Sofia Water company was set up in 2000 by the consortium between United Utilities Ltd. and International Water Ltd. and with 19% participation of the Sofia Municipality. For the same reason the water utility was fined to pay BGN280,000 for the 2000-2001 period. The present sanction of BGN500,000 is also imposed due to the numerous complaints by citizens for poor quality repairs and mistakes in the water bills. I'll get acquainted with the documents and if the motives for the fine are justified I'll sign the order without any hesitation, Mr. Sofiansky commented.The investment programme for the second year of Sofia Water's concession projects total investments of BGN54.2MN, but the company has invested only BGN21MN, Iveta Marinova, Director of Technical Monitoring in OMONIT, announced. BGN11.5MN of that amount has been spent on fortification of Beli Iskar's dam and for repairs and replacement of some of the technical equipment for monitoring the level and purity of the water in the facility. Another BGN9.5MN has been spent for replacement of the old asbestos water-main pipes downtown Sofia and in the Slatina residential district. The concessionaire's investment programme projects replacement of the entire water-supply network in the capital by the year 2007. Till then the sewerage in Sofia's southeastern residential districts of Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, and Gorublyane, should be ready as well. USD152MN has been earmarked for the purpose. Meanwhile, it became known that Sofia Water was projecting the consecutive hike of water prices in October. It will be probably 10 per cent. Currently, budget institutions pay BGN0.85 per 1 cubic meter of water (after VAT), households - BGN0.77/cu m, and commercial companies - BGN0.92/cu m, BGN0.98/cu m, or BGN1.03/cu m, depending on the amount of pollution they cause.