The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released a Draft Determination of prices proposing that Hunter Water invests in the region’s water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as giving customers more control over their water bills.
The Draft Determination proposes that Hunter Water will invest $663 million on new and upgraded infrastructure, technology and services over the next four years to further improve services, customer experience and sustainably service growth.
“IPART’s draft determination is welcome news for our residential customers,” said Hunter Water’s Executive Manager Customer Strategy and Retail, Victor Prasad.
“It shows the typical residential bill will decrease by eight per cent in the first year, followed by increases of three per cent for the next three years, meaning the cost will remain relatively unchanged over the four years, even after forecast inflation of 2.5 per cent is applied.
“In real-terms (before inflation), this means the typical bill is expected to go from $1,318 in 2019-20 to $1,200 in 2023-24, a decrease of $118, which is a great result for our residential customers.
“Importantly, the Draft Determination continues the consumption-based water usage charge.
“This will provide an additional incentive for our customers to love water, with the majority of the typical household’s water bill to come from the consumption-based charge of $2.41 per thousand litres.
“IPART has given the initial green light to a range of infrastructure projects that support the growth of our region through upgrades to the water and wastewater network, as well as continuing our focus on water conservation and reducing leakage.
“It’s also supported our proposal to spend $6 million on new recycled water infrastructure, and an additional $11.3 million on stormwater naturalisation works, helping to improve the liveability of our region.
“Not only will our customers benefit from our significant investment in infrastructure to maintain high-quality services, but our prices will also decrease in real-terms due to lower than forecast borrowing costs that are reflective of current economic conditions.”
The release of the Draft Determination follows an extensive public consultation process and a public hearing in Newcastle in 2019.
“There’s still time for our community to have their say and we encourage people to provide their feedback to IPART,” said Mr Prasad.
IPART’s Final Determination is expected in June 2020 with new prices to start from 1 July 2020.
For public submissions on the Draft Determination, open until Thursday 9 April 2020, visit the IPART website at www.ipart.nsw.gov.au