(12 December 2016) EPSU welcomes the decision of Mafra’s local authorities to remunicipalise its water services. The local authority was the first Portuguese municipality to privatise its water services, 22 years ago, making this policy reversal a real milestone.
The municipality has terminated its agreement with Be Water after the private operator attempted to increase tariffs by 30 per cent, which the local found unacceptable. In order to bring the water concession back under local authority control an economic, financial and legal study was conduced which concluded that full municipal management of the water services would reduce tariffs by 5 per cent, so improving consumer service, with a significant reduction in water prices.
EPSU’s General Secretary welcomed this latest remunicipalisation decision saying, ‘this is another example of local authorities around Europe becoming increasingly aware that the private management of utility services, such as water is costly and represents a false economy, as private companies focus on lining their pockets with hefty and unwarranted profits’. The perceived superiority of private management has once again been proven false as the remunicipalisation band-wagon gathers pace.