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Commission calls for water bills to drop dramatically

Date

Lisa Cox and Peter Jean

Canberra households will save about $230 on their annual water bills under recommendations from the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission.

The ICRC has recommended a 16.9 per cent reduction in ACTEW's water charges per kilolitre and a 24 per cent reduction in sewerage charges in a draft report released in Tuesday.

The Commission has also recommended that the ACT Government consider breaking up ACTEW and place its water and sewerage business within a separate territory-owned corporation.

The report estimates the combined household bill for water and sewerage could fall by 19 per cent, equating to $4.42 per week or $230 per year.

The recommendation comes despite ACTEW's warnings of sharp increases to water bills to recover revenue shortfalls caused by lower than forecast water consumption by ACT households in recent years.

The Commission said it did not see "any merit to raise water prices for future water users to recover the consequences of lower than expected water sales over the last five years".

"The precise size of the price reductions delivered in the final report will be influenced by submissions we receive on this draft report," Senior Commissioner Malcolm Gray said.

ACTEW's half interest in the joint ventures with AGL and Jemena would be held in a separate territory-owned corporation.

"The Commission recommends that the two territory-owned corporations be completely separated with separate boards," the Commission said in its draft report. 

Treasurer Andrew Barr said the Government was broadly supportive of a reduction in water charges but needed to study the draft determination in more detail.

“The trade offs associated with this will be presumably a reduced recenue stream to ACTEW it may result in job losses within that organisation and it certainly will impact on the dividend that they [ACTEW] pay to the territory government,’’ Mr Barr said.

Liberal Zed Seselja said Canberrans had been paying too much for water in recent years.

“We want to see Canberrans pay less rather than more and it certainly appears that for years they’ve been paying too much,’’ Mr Seselja said.

22 comments

  • But but but, lower the prices, but but but what about our bonuses for gods sake.

    Commenter
    MIKE the HAMMER
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    February 26, 2013, 11:37AM
    • Be sure to take an umbrella with you when you go out. Not for the rain but those flying pigs make a huge mess.

      Commenter
      mitch of ACT
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 11:38AM
      • Good on the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission. Remember our water prices went up during the drought to cover loss of revenue, and to increase them in part again for that reason would be double dipping. Also re costs in upgrading the Cotter Dam. We paid a levy for many years to cover that cost. From memory that levy was abolished in about 2004 (guestimate). Given the levy was collected for 10 years or so what happened to the revenue raise?? Was it siphoned off into consolidated revenue or actually used for its intended purpose. Consolidate Revenue I bet.

        Commenter
        Steve
        Date and time
        February 26, 2013, 11:49AM
        • This surely cannot be right. Water costs to go down? In the golden age of over inflated management bonuses, bungled contracts with associated cost overruns and the general trend of slug the end user for as much as you can, this just doesn't hold water.

          Commenter
          befuddled
          Date and time
          February 26, 2013, 12:07PM
          • Yeah. right. It will never happen. Communists don't loosen the grip until its ripped from them.

            Commenter
            evanism
            Date and time
            February 26, 2013, 12:12PM
            • Yeh right, there's reds under the bed *yawn*

              Commenter
              Mad Uncle Bruno
              Date and time
              February 26, 2013, 3:59PM
          • lol ... lower prices ... cant wait till the next installment ..."climate change is just a natural phenomena and has little to do with human activity" .. those dinasours will turn in their graves

            Commenter
            Robzz
            Date and time
            February 26, 2013, 12:35PM
            • The UN IPCCC changed Global Warming to Climate Change when they realised Global Warming wasn't really happening. Climate Change was a ideal choice as is does happen, always has and always will while the earth has an atmosphere.

              Commenter
              Steve
              Date and time
              February 26, 2013, 1:53PM
            • Actually, they always called it Climate Change. It was journalists who coined 'global warming', not the IPCC.

              Commenter
              Mad Uncle Bruno
              Date and time
              February 26, 2013, 4:00PM
          • 'ACTEW's warnings of sharp increases to water bills to recover revenue shortfalls caused by lower than forecast water consumption by ACT households in recent years.' Earth calling to ACTEW: The more you put prices up, the less we will use - guaranteed!. This is a theory called supply and demand which has been around since the year dot, I'm amazed it seems such a foreign concept to you.

            Commenter
            Jimmos
            Location
            ACT
            Date and time
            February 26, 2013, 12:38PM

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