Wannon Water plans to lower charges

WANNON Water is the only Victorian regional supply authority to propose a price decrease in the next five years. 

The Warrnambool-based authority’s water plans submitted to the Essential Services Commission for assessment shows an estimated decrease of 2.6 per cent next financial year and zero increase across all tariff categories for the following four financial years.

It will mean the annual water and sewerage bill for an average Wannon Water customer in Warrnambool using 148 kilolitres will fall by $31 from $1163 this financial year to $1131 by 2017-18.

Tenants in residential buildings serviced by Wannon Water will also escape sharp rises with the average bill going from $264 to $263.

Wannon Water’s managing director Grant Green and board chairman John Vogels said in the recent annual report that sound business planning had laid the groundwork to keep prices affordable throughout the next regulatory period.

“No water and sewerage tariff increases, other than annual CPI adjustments, are proposed through to 2017-18,”  they said.

Sewerage service charges will be reduced by two per cent for residential customers in 2013-14, Mr Green said. 

Only Barwon Water, which proposes a zero increase, comes close. Its average household water-sewerage bill will fall by $6 from $1049 now to $1055 in five year’s time and the tenants’ bill by $2 from $338 to $340.

The largest proposed average increase is Coliban Water’s 28.3 per cent, taking the average bill to $1297.

However, the biggest bills will be for Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water customers, who will pay an average $1323 by 2017-18.

Wannon Water and several other authorities propose to increase the proportion of variable water usage charges in customer bills relative to fixed service charges, as well as adjusting pricing zones to better reflect costs and/or simplify tariffs.

Its operating expenditure is expected to rise by 17.6 per cent comparing the periods 2008-2013 against 2013-2018, driven mainly by higher energy costs including the carbon tax impact.

However, a new method of  cleaning sludge from sewage treatment plants using goldfish starting  soon  is expected to reduce operating costs by millions of dollars. 

The water plans are open for public submissions until January 25. Public forums will be held across the state giving customers opportunity to ask questions and hear the plans explained.

The Wannon Water forum will be on November 29 at the Mid City Motel from noon.

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