Price hike for water customers
FARMERS in rural areas are set to see a price increase in their water costs over the next three years after the Essential Services Commission (ESC) approved the increases proposed by Victoria’s three rural water businesses, Goulburn-Murray Water, Lower Murray Water (Rural) and Southern Rural Water.
While the price of regional water will drop in the coming five years, a Rural Water Business Price Review 2013 Draft Decision released last week has outlined rural irrigation customers will on average, incur price rises of under three percent (not including inflation) over the next regulatory period.
A proposal put forward by Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) outlines its intention to recover a maximum annual increase in revenue of 1.5 percent (not including inflation) broadly across its tariffs and will increase service point fees by $50 to $300 per annum.
Dhurringile Dairy Farmer, Rocky Niglia who is already paying $800 per annum in service point fees told The Adviser the increase in fees will just add to the stress already hanging over farmer’s heads.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is in the form of a service point fee or infrastructure GMW can camouflage it how they like, but it is still an extra water charge to us farmers.
“Farmers aren’t just exhausted with their workload at the end of each day but they are exhausted with every little thing that is affecting their bottom line.
“You just get tired of fighting,” Rocky said.
The Adviser spoke with GMW Managing Director, Gavin Hanlon and asked what impact the increases would have on local farmers and GMW’s response was that the ESC’s Draft Decision was a strong endorsement of GMW’s future direction.
Gavin Hanlon said, “The ESC draft decision is a great outcome for GMW and its customers, providing confidence and security for the future.”
ESC Chairperson, Dr Ron Ben-David said the ESC sought business and community input into its analysis and utilised the technical expertise of external consultants in an attempt to ensure that the costs passed onto customers were fair and reasonable.
“Our aim was to strike a balance between ensuring prices are as low as possible, while still ensuring enough revenue for the businesses to provide services and undertake required capital works.
“Over the next few weeks, we want to ‘stress test’ our draft decision on prices with the customers of each water business,” Dr Ben-David said.
Interested parties have an opportunity to comment on the Commission’s draft decision by lodging written submissions by May 2, 2013 or by attending public meetings to be held throughout April.
For details on public meetings or for full documentation of the Draft Decision, visit www.esc.vic.gov.au