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NSW review proposes big increase in water costs

WaterNSW is proposing significant increases to prices and bills to implement a metering reform program in the order of 70% to 240%.

New South Wales’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is conducting its review of costs and prices for water management services provided by the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (WAMC).

It says that this is due to its costs of collecting and managing information from private and government-owned meters, and servicing government-owned meters. It has indicated these increases are needed to meet its customers’ priorities and provide a higher level of service than in the past.

The price review will focus on assessing whether WAMC’s proposed cost increases are justified. It will also consider what customers should pay, and how costs should be shared between customers and the NSW Government on behalf of the broader community.

IPART has said that it recognises that regional and rural customers and communities have endured a long and extreme drought, bushfires and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As such, it will seek to balance a range of factors including the need to set prices that reflect efficient costs as well as customer bill impacts and affordability.

IPART held a joint online public hearing in November 2020 as part of its stakeholder consultation. The public hearing provided opportunity for the public and stakeholders to have their say or ask questions on these water price reviews.

Stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide their views on the additional costs of metering reform in response to the draft report, which will be released in March 2021.

The review will set new prices to apply from 1 July 2021.