Our price plan seeks to keep bills stable in coming years

01 Jul 2022

Barwon Water’s prices will remain some of the lowest in Australia for similar sized water corporations for the next six years, with annual adjustments only made in relation to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Barwon Water will keep price adjustments to less than CPI this year. The adjustments are in line with its commitment to customers in its 2018-23 Price Submission, which was approved by the Victorian Essential Services Commission.

Barwon Water’s work to keep customer bills affordable, while at the same time investing in critical water and sewerage infrastructure and initiatives to use more recycled water, reduce energy costs and help customers save water will again be on display over the next six years.

“Our ongoing investment in delivering our essential water and sewerage services is going to be made in a way that meets the challenges of climate change, population growth, rapid technological development, and a transitioning economy,” Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter said.

“Since 2017, our aim has been to enable regional prosperity through the affordable, innovative, strategic delivery of our water and sewerage services.”

Ms Slatter said while CPI is 5.1% this year, average owner-occupiers using 160kL per year will see an increase of less than CPI of 4% in their annual bill from July 1, which translates to an additional $3.49 per month for owner/occupiers and $1.27 per month for renters.

“Despite the price changes, Barwon Water customers’ bills remain among the lowest in Australia for similar-sized water corporations; 2022/23 bills for residential owner occupiers are 18% lower than in real terms 10 years ago.”

In addition to announcing the price adjustments for the next financial year, Ms Slatter said Barwon Water’s commitment to affordable bills, water security and improving the environment would be on display in its next five-year pricing plan – the 2023-28 Price Submission – a draft of which has been released for community feedback.

“We are looking forward to continuing the genuine community collaboration and engagement that has been a hallmark of the water corporation’s approach over the past five years.”

“We are seeking feedback on our customer proposal to keep future prices stable, fair and low for the next five-year pricing period beginning July 1, 2023, in which prices will remain flat in real terms for the majority of customers."

“In developing the proposed customer promise, prices and services, we have considered customer affordability, operating costs, new infrastructure requirements, current and future challenges, service levels and feedback gathered from customers over the past five years.”

“We know our customers want high quality services at affordable prices and we are fully committed to keeping prices stable, supporting our customers who need it the most and making investments for the future.”

In the 2018-23 Price Submission, $2.5 million was allocated to programs that help customers in need, while the next price promise boosts this commitment to supporting customers to $4.8 million.

“Anyone who needs help to manage their water bill receives assistance from us,” Ms Slatter said, noting that anyone can experience financial stress at any time.

“Financial difficulties can affect anybody and we urge our customers to reach out for assistance rather than dealing with the stress on their own. Our empathetic support team is here to assist and have a respectful, completely confidential conversation about our wide range of customer support options.”

In addition to the $4.8 million to support customers, other key investment highlights in the draft 2023-28 Price Submission include:

  • $209 million to repair and replace ageing infrastructure
  • $164 million for new and upgraded infrastructure to cater for regional growth and deliver safe, secure, sustainable water
  • $36 million for upgrade to existing and new recycled water infrastructure to support greater use of this resource
  • $15 million in digital metering and smart networks
  • $7 million to improve catchment and waterway health
  • $6 million in renewable electricity and emission reduction projects

Ms Slatter said Barwon Water was seeking customer feedback on its 2023-2028 Price Submission.

It will form the implementation plan for the next phase of the organisation’s refreshed Strategy 2030, which at its core will guide Barwon Water’s mission to enable regional prosperity while it meets the challenges of climate change, population growth, rapid technological development, and a transitioning economy.

Customers are invited to provide feedback via an online survey, which is open until 29 July.

For price adjustments across all customer sectors, see our fees and charges web page.

Your Say: 2023-2028 Price Submission

About Price Submissions

All Victorian water corporations, including Barwon Water, are required to develop and submit price submissions, every five years. It outlines the prices customers pay for water and sewerage, service standards, and infrastructure and operational investments over a five-year period (the next period being 2023 – 2028)

Submissions are reviewed and determined by the Essential Services Commission.

The Essential Services Commission acts as an independent “umpire”, established by the Victorian Government, to regulate providers of essential services such water, gas and electricity so that their prices are fair and reasonable for consumers.

Independent economic regulation is especially important for providers of water and sewerage services, like Barwon Water, because customers don’t have a choice about who provides these services to them.