21 October 2022

Water bills set to rise to cover Icon's sewage treatment plans, costs

| Ian Bushnell
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Dripping tap

The price of water is going up but bills will be lower than the average of comparable jurisdictions, says the ICRC. Photo: File.

Average Canberrans’ annual water bills are set to rise about $50 – or 4.2 per cent – in the next financial year under a draft decision from the pricing regulator.

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has released its draft price direction on water and sewerage services tariffs for the period from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2028.

The bill for a typical household using 200 kilolitres of water will increase from $1177 in 2022-23 to $1227 in 2023-24.

Residential water bills are expected to rise in real terms (excluding inflation) at an average of 1.2 per cent a year to 2028.

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For non-residential customers, their combined annual bills will increase by $437 to $4917, depending on water consumption and the number of flushable fixtures installed.

An average non-residential customer consuming 5000 kL a year with 50 flushable fixtures installed will see their bill increase by $2108, or 4.42 per cent.

The Commission said the proposed price rises reflected the effect of Icon Water’s large planned investment in sewage treatment, increases in costs including wages, insurance, electricity and chemicals, the cost of debt and forecast inflation in the 2023-28 regulatory period.

These factors had been partially offset by population growth and the ability to spread these increased costs across a broader customer base.

Water charges table

Draft decision on water and sewerage tariffs, 2023-28 ($, nominal). Image: ICRC.

The Commission said both water and sewerage prices would be lower than what Icon Water proposed, and the combined bill would be lower than the average of comparable jurisdictions.

This reflected the Commission’s decision to reduce the revenue Icon Water sought and to seek greater savings.

But price rises in future years could change if inflation differs from the expected 3 per cent a year, if there are changes in Icon Water’s non-controllable costs that would need to be passed on to consumers and if its borrowing costs change.

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Icon Water’s proposed total revenue requirement was $2155.4 million, but the ICRC trimmed this back to $1997.3 million, down 7.3 per cent or $158.1 million.

The Commission said it would investigate the sewerage tariff for non-residential customers in response to submissions from the hospitality sector.

The Commission is seeking comment on the draft report and the proposed findings and recommendations until 14 December.

To learn more, visit the ICRC website.

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William Newby7:47 pm 25 Oct 22

Icon – an unlisted company wholly owned by the ACT Government.
Don’t be distracted here by the Icon part, this is the Barr Labor party driving up living costs, again.

Well I am going to stick my head up here and say water rates should increase. Water is a precious resource and I am amazed when I get my water bills just how little we pay for it. It was only in recent years Australia suffered significant drought placing pressure on our precious dams. Canberrans were subjected to long term water restrictions and they willingly complied. These restrctions made people reconsider their water usage. I still do. John Howard at the time was threatening to redivert Canberra’s water to NSW. Canberrans had paid for this water. We will undoubtedly go through the same drought conditions in future years.

Of course!

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