The water and sewerage bill for a typical Canberra household (using 200kL a year) in 2019-20 will rise by about $22, after the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) released its annual update on Friday.
This is a 1.9 per cent increase, broadly in line with inflation, but also driven by Government charges.
The ICRC said the increase reflected changes in the Consumer Price Index and the cost of debt, and includes a rise in the Water Abstraction Charge (WAC), which is paid to the ACT Government for the licence to take water. The actual charge for 2017-18 was $1.1 million higher than forecast.
This followed a decline of 3.5 per cent in the 2018-19 annual bill, as a result of the Commission’s 2018 final decision on regulated water and sewerage services prices for the regulatory period 2018-2023, it said.
Non-residential customers would see annual bill changes ranging from decreases of around 0.5 per cent to increases of up to 1.1 per cent depending on the water usage and the number of toilets.
Icon Water Managing Director Ray Hezkial said the price increase was part of a five-year direction set by the ICRC for 2018-2023.
“In setting prices, the ICRC takes into account the changing costs of delivering water to the region (more than 52 billion litres in 2017-18) and treating the sewage of almost half a million people. This includes capital works to upgrade our assets, including more than 6000 kilometres of pipes and a range of plants, pumping stations and reservoirs,” he said.
“For example, throughout 2019-20 Icon Water expects to spend more than $10 million upgrading the tertiary filters and disinfection system at Canberra’s primary sewage treatment plant. This will make sure sewage is cleaned and treated to stringent standards before it’s released back into the Molonglo River.
“We also expect to spend more than $16 million replacing water and sewer mains which have reached the end of their life. Using a targeted program to identify the most at-risk pipes, we can minimise the likelihood of bursts, blockages and overflows which are disruptive for our customers and expensive to fix.
“These works are important for delivering our services, but at the same time we are committed to keeping bills down.”