Malta’s water services provider recouped €700,000 in previously unbilled consumption, according to its annual report.
The Water Services Corporation (WSC) said in its 2020 report the money was recouped by “carefully analysing” 600 accounts over the whole year.
Smart technology used to remotely monitor water consumption was found to be of “questionable smartness”, according to a leaked Auditor General report obtained by Times of Malta.
The problematic technology led to “various technical faults” with readings, according to the National Audit Office (NSO).
A study by ARMS Ltd and the WSC calculated that there are 17,928 water meters flagged for inspection due to suspected faulty readings.
Unbilled water consumption has remained at a significant 30 per cent of total supply, the NAO found.
The corporation said in its annual report that, despite the pandemic, last year it managed to replace over 27,000 water meters, which, it pointed out, was a record number.
Water loss due to leakages was also at an all-time low, with the corporation citing the recruitment of a leakage engineer in every region as a contributing factor.
Consumers registering high water consumption are also being notified by the corporation via SMS or letter about possible internal leaks.
Despite a €2 million increase in turnover to €107.2 million, the corporation’s unaudited accounts show a 21 per cent drop in profits, down to €9.4 million.
This is mainly due to expenditure topping €107.2 million, representing an increase of €4.7 million when compared to 2019.
The corporation argued the drop in profits was not down to “underperformance” but due to the “unprecedented” increase in expenditure.
This has to be weighed against a “remarkable increase” in the corporation’s revenues, the report said.
The corporation put these expenditure increases down to higher costs in the corporation’s billing process, maintenance and operation of sewage treatment plans as well as increased levels of investment.
Salaries and wages, however, continue to be the main item of expenditure, which, at €30.3 million, represents 31 per cent of the corporation’s total costs.
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