Improve Management of Local Services


Most of Albania’s utility companies are unable to provide reliable, clean drinking water or collect and treat waste water and solid waste in ways that safeguard public health and the environment. In cooperation with the Albanian Water Regulatory Authority and the Deutsche GIZ, the PLGP provides technical and policy support to local governments and supervisory councils of jointly-owned utilities to redress systemic weaknesses in service provision. With PLGP support, functioning structures and processes have been developed, together with the relevant technical and management skills. The PLGP also works with the Government of Albania and local governments to ensure a regulatory framework is in place which meets EU and international standards.

The PLGP helped 11 partner municipalities and their joint utilities develop baseline assessments and action plans. Based on this information, five-year business plans were developed and adopted. The business plans included measurable goals, performance improvement strategies, and a financial plan leading to full cost recovery based on rational tariffs. In three municipalities, PLGP water experts facilitate quarterly meetings with utility management to analyze the utilities’ performance and compare it with business plan targets. Database management systems were installed by three water utilities, with extensive PLGP support.

The PLGP also guided the review of internal management reporting procedures from the finance, technical, and customer service departments of each of the 11 utilities. Recommended improvements included detailed performance indicators.

A training schedule was developed for local government officials, water utility senior management, and supervisory council members on environmental laws and standards. A binding regulation makes satisfactory completion of training a prerequisite to continuing membership (in the case of existing supervisory council members), or to joining a supervisory council (in the case of newly-appointed members). As part of the training materials, the PLGP prepared a manual on EU environmental laws, standards, and practices in water, waste water, and solid waste management.

The PLGP worked closely with senior management and the customer service staff of eight partner utilities to develop and populate well-organized and informative water utility websites, as well as draft detailed customer service operations plans and annual public communication plans. The PLGP also worked closely with the Water Supply and Sewage Association of Albania to develop an advanced training course, on a cost-sharing basis, in asset management for water and wastewater utilities and to deliver training to PLGP selected partner utilities.

Utilities must respond to territorial reform which placed urban and rural water and sewage utility services under the same municipality jurisdiction. The PLGP provides extensive assistance to the Municipality of Elbasan in developing a transition plan for merging existing water services into a single utility. The transition plan includes an analysis of revenues, expenditures, rates, and capital investments, and a strategy for financial sustainability.

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