Access to essential services
There is not and there never will be a ‘business as usual’ attitude in the outsourcing of energy, waste, water and sanitation services.
Implementing pricing policies that are socially acceptable
At the request of the authorities in Morocco, the company has implemented a pricing structure that enables water and electricity consumed below a specified threshold to be purchased for less than the price charged to Veolia by the national utilities.
For water, this special low rate is available for up to 40 liters of consumption per person per day, which is twice the amount that the United Nations estimate is necessary to meet basic needs.
Some households in emerging countries are not accustomed to planning their spending in the medium term (on a weekly or monthly basis). They tend to spend money as soon as it comes in: having to pay a bill at the end of the month for a service that is consumed on a day-to-day basis can therefore be quite a challenge. This problem is often exacerbated by the failure of households to monitor consumption, which gives them the impression that the bill is unjustifiably or even abusively high. This can make customers and even the local population in general, hostile toward the provider or manager of the public service.
In Gabon, our company’s subsidiary which produces and distributes both water and electricity, addressed this problem by introducing prepayment plans for electricity. Prepayment enables consumers to adjust their spending in accordance with their immediate income. Almost 70% of households in Gabon were purchasing electricity on a prepayment basis by the end of 2011. Veolia also began offering this payment method in northern Morocco in 2011.
Promoting more efficient water use to optimize services
In Niger, where half of the consumers get their water from communal standpipes, unsanitary transportation, storage and handling practices can make this water unfit to drink, exposing local populations to hygiene and health problems.
Employees of Veolia’s local subsidiary, SEEN, set out to make sure that people are better informed about this problem.
This is a vital issue in a country where water-borne illnesses are the leading cause of death and disease.
Veolia set up a Water and Health program in 2007 to make local people more aware of how drinking water and hygiene can affect health. The program was first implemented within the subsidiary then presented to external stakeholders, such as private sector managers of communal standpipes. They were given training by the NGO Rail Niger, allowing them to inform local populations about the links between water, hygiene and health.
Using existing water resources and infrastructure to serve more people
In Tetouan, Morocco, Veolia succeeded in reducing water withdrawal by as much as 18% while delivering 18% more water between 2002 and 2009. This made it possible to serve 59% more customers while preserving precious water resources.