Prices will fall by around 10 per cent on average in 2020-21, depending on the service, and by a little under one per cent for each of the following three years.
The Essential Services Commission’s decision followed a review of Goulburn-Murray Water’s expenditure forecasts and proposed tariff reforms.
Goulburn-Murray Water is the state’s largest irrigation water service provider and covers the region from the Murray River in the north to the great dividing range in the south.
The commission’s director of pricing Marcus Crudden said that the lower prices would not impact service standards, and the business has committed to improvements in key areas.
“Goulburn-Murray Water’s price reductions have been made possible through cost efficiencies arising from investments in modernising irrigation infrastructure and other business savings,” he said.
The commission approved revenue of $439.5 million over four years, a figure that is around $65 million lower than the approved expenditure for the past four years.
A single charge to harmonise prices across Goulburn-Murray Water’s six irrigation districts will also be introduced, making it simpler and cheaper for the business to administer. This means pricing in Shepparton will no longer be different to other gravity irrigation districts.
“The alignment of irrigation district pricing reflects the increasing similarity in costs across the six districts and will mean irrigators benefit from lower prices,” Mr Crudden said.
Storage fees paid by most Goulburn-Murray customers have also been simplified so that users receiving the same service now pay the same tariff.