Water rates up again

WATER prices increases from Drouin to Stratford for 2012-3 will be the lowest in the past five years and herald the start of a new era of lower water price increases in the region.

The Essential Service Commission has approved the prices for the coming financial year, and for the average customer receiving both water and wastewater services it will equate to 4.3 per cent on a usage of 174 kilolitres of water per annum. The 4.3 per cent increase includes the CPI adjustment.

Gippsland Water managing director David Mawer said the authority was at the end of the five-year cycle.

“The significant price rises the community experienced at the beginning of the cycle are behind us,” he said.

“While our water charge aligns with the charges originally approved by the ESC in 2008, we have been able to achieve a reduction in the wastewater charge approved in 2008 for this period and this has been passed on to our customers.

“Price rises do present difficulty for some customers and Gippsland Water has a customer care program in place to assist those in that position. I encourage any of our customers who are struggling to pay their account to contact our Customer Contact staff on 1800 050 500 to discuss their personal circumstances.

“Gippsland Water will shortly be releasing its Draft Water Plan 3 proposal for public comment and the public can be confident that the big price rises of Water Plan 2 are behind us.

“I encourage the community to engage with us throughout the forthcoming Draft Water Plan 3 process. In late May 2012, we will be announcing our proposed pricing for the July 2013 to June 2018 period.”