Coliban price hike up for discussion

PLANS to increase the cost of Bendigo’s water by 16 per cent will be discussed at a public meeting tomorrow. 

Coliban Water last month announced plans to increase water prices by 16 per cent from June, followed by 3 per cent rises for the following four years. 

Total charges would rise 28 per cent over five years, according to figures from the Essential Services Commission, which must approve the changes. That is double the rate rise proposed by the next highest water company and the highest rise in regional Victoria. 

ESC spokesperson Gavin Clancy said the commission had not received public submissions over the plans, but a rural water users group had made representations over pricing. “We are aware of some issues around Coliban’s proposed price increases, we’re aware that’s been discussed locally,” he said. 

“Prices in Bendigo are going up higher than other parts of the state. The purpose of this Bendigo meeting is to gauge public opinion on Coliban’s plan.” 

Mr Clancy said Coliban would present the plans at the meeting and the reasons behind the pricing levels, with Coliban and the ESC to take public comments and questions. 

“The plans can change,” Mr Clancy said. 

“People can come along and put forward their opinion and raise issues. 

“Sometimes it’s not about prices, it might be about service levels.” 

The ESC is expected to release a draft decision on the rate rises in March followed by a final decision in late May or June. 

The meeting will be held at 6pm at the La Trobe Visual Arts Centre, View Street.

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