The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has just released a review of Canberra’s water pricing regime. In it, they are proposing that fixed charges rise considerably, while usage charges are significantly reduced.
Their report (http://www.icrc.act.gov.au/water-and-sewerage/tariff-review-2016/) uses projections about which I am dubious of future water usage, population growth and climate change modelling to “prove” their point.
There is also a lot of internal dissonance amongst their conclusions, including for example, that the present costing structure is “a blunt tool to encourage water conservation is no longer providing the best and the most efficient outcome for the community in the current water secure circumstance”, then uses their own “blunt tool” to justify this crazy notion that somehow reducing water usage charges is more efficient.
My personal view is that they should be heading in the opposite direction – reducing or eliminating fixed charges, and rolling these into usage charges. This should not only encourage water conservation, but delay any future very expensive infrastructure upgrades.
The Chief Minister says he doesn’t agree with it (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/chief-minister-labels-water-price-increases-an-unfair-proposal-the-government-cannot-support-20160907-gras84.html), but he would say that just before an election. What he says and does afterwards will most likely be quite different.
After all, their brief for this report is to “use Icon Water’s infrastructure and water resources efficiently”.
Over to the Rioters for their views?