Sydneysiders set to receive water price reduction

Water TapThe latest review of Sydney Water’s pricing scheme may see customers paying as much as 13.5% less for water in the coming years.

The Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Draft Determination outlines a drop in water usage changes from $2.28 per kL to $1.97, and a $39.19 saving in yearly services charges.

With a typical household consuming 220kL per year, the annual water usage expenditure would decrease by $103 on average for residential consumers.

“Our decision to accept Sydney Water’s proposed water usage charge balances a number of competing considerations, including customers having greater control over bills and a move towards our best estimate of the long-term costs of water supply,” the draft states.

Businesses stand to benefits from the review too, with service charges for non-residential wastewater management proposed to drop by 32.4%. 

IPART will be taking a separate review of wholesale prices to ensure consistency across regions. 

“We have also decided to conduct a separate review of wholesale water and wastewater prices, given that this is a new area of price regulation for IPART, its potential impact on the future of the NSW urban water market, and the need to ensure a consistent approach across the Sydney and Lower Hunter regions,” the draft states.

Other recommendations under the draft include single-service charges for single-metered residential properties (dual occupancies), and a low-impact customer category for residential stormwater customers, which aims to support customers investing in on-site water retention facilities (stormwater tanks).

Sydney Water Managing Director Kevin Young said the utility will need to balance water-usage cost reduction with other expenditures.

“Sydney Water is supportive of any proposal to reduce financial pressure on customers. However, to promote their long-term interests, we need to balance any bill reduction with the right amount of spending,” Young said.

“We need to ensure that we continue to provide quality services to our customers in future. We advocated for lower bills for customers in our proposal to IPART, and our proposal balanced these customers’ needs and long-term service requirements.”

Submissions to IPART from industry are due by April 18.