Under its proposed plan, Goulburn Valley Water’s typical annual water and sewerage bills for customers will increase by 1.85 per cent each year in 2023-24 and 2024-25, then by 2.45 per cent for the following three years to 30 June 2028, before inflation.
This means the average bill for households will rise from $890 in 2022-23, to around $917 in 2023-24, then to around $1,035 in 2027-28.
The commission’s director of pricing Marcus Crudden says Goulburn Valley Water has recognised the impact these proposed price increases will have on customers, and has proposed smaller increases in the first two years. It has also committed to increasing its funding for hardship support programs.
“We encourage customers to contact Goulburn Valley Water if they are experiencing difficulty paying bills, to discuss what assistance or arrangements can be made,” Mr Crudden said.
Goulburn Valley Water has committed to a number of key outcomes, reflecting customer priorities over the five-year pricing period: provide reliable water and wastewater services that customers can trust; lead action and partner with its communities to grow the region; care for the environment and adapt to a future impacted by climate variability; deliver respectful and responsive customer service, balancing affordability, value for money and fairness.
“As part of its proposal, Goulburn Valley Water has refined its outcomes and measures to better service its region and provide improvements in areas its customers value most.
“This includes continuing to invest in renewable energy, upgrading existing infrastructure in order to strengthen reliable and safe water supply, and improving water pressure in identified towns,” Mr Crudden said.
Goulburn Valley Water will also invest in five major projects to support regional growth and development, protect the environment, and provide reliable services.
“Our draft decision proposes some reductions to Goulburn Valley Water’s forecast costs, and seeks more information to inform our final decision. We are also requiring Goulburn Valley Water to improve its efficiency targets, as the proposed productivity hurdle was well below levels proposed by other water businesses.”
The commission has also requested additional information from Goulburn Valley Water in relation to proposed new customer contributions charges, ahead of making its final decision.
“Our draft decision also finds that Goulburn Valley Water has not sufficiently made the case to justify its proposed increases to new customer contributions,” Mr Crudden said.
“The Essential Services Commission thanks customers and stakeholders for their submissions and participation to date. We value and encourage feedback on this next stage to help inform our final decision on Goulburn Valley Water’s 2023-28 pricing proposal,” Mr Crudden said.
The commission’s final decision on the Goulburn Valley Water pricing proposal is due in June 2023.
This article was updated on 12 April to correct the closing date for submissions to 12 May 2023 (previously stated as 9 May 2023).