Tallinna Vesi, the capital's water services provider, wants to put in place a water price hike, citing soaring electricity prices as the main factor. Several other water firms in Estonia have already taken advantage of an expedited procedure to raise prices.
Tallinna Vesi, which provides sewerage and drainage services as well as drinking water, has applied to the Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) to hike prices by €0.26 per cubic meter, on average.
Board chair at Tallinna Vesi Aleksandr Timofejev said: "In a situation of nearly 23 percent inflation, where the high price of electricity is impacting on all sectors, the current water service price can no longer cover all costs effectively."
"In order to ensure high-quality and a consistent service, we need to request an increase in the price of water service from the Competition Authority, to make up for these costs," he went on.
If the Competition Authority approves the application, Tallinna Vesi's sales revenue is set to rise by €5.6 per annum, the company told the Tallinn Stock Exchange.
Timofejev said that water bills will rise by an average of around one euro per resident, on the basis that the average Estonian household consumes 2.2 cubic meters of water per family member, per month, in the area served by the company.
The average price hike, if approved, will be 14 percent and private consumers would pay €1.87 inclusive of VAT for one cubic meter of water and sewerage services; for business customers the new figure will be €3.57.
Tallinna Vesi has requested a price hike for the Tallinn and Saue service area; since the current price has been in force less than three years, summary procedure can be applied for under an expedited scheme the Competition Authority rolled out in response to the soaring electricity prices.
17 water companies have so far applied for a price hike, including in Tartu and Narva.
Electricity costs account for around 25 percent of Tallinna Vesi's production costs, primarily in the sewage and water treatment plants and pumping stations, while the cleaning and de-chlorination process for drinking water also requires electricity.
Tallinna Vesi is the largest water firm in Estonia and serves close to 24,000 domestic and business clients, and around 470,000 end users.
While it is a private company, the city of Tallinn owns a majority (55 percent) stake in the company, while energy group Utilitas owns a 20 percent stake.
Editor: Andrew Whyte