Water prices to jump in Bendigo

COLIBAN Water has confirmed it will propose a 28 per cent rise in water costs, as part of its five-year plan.

The final outlines of the water plan for 2013-2018 show plans for a 16 per cent rise this year, followed by a 3 per cent rise plus inflation over each of the next four years. 

The Essential Service Commission, which will release a draft of the water plan in mid-March, was  given the final figures from Coliban, which were not revised from the initial submission put forward last October.

Coliban managing director Jeff Rigby detailed the plans as a “major reform package” in terms of changes to tariff and pricing structures.

He described the long-term plan as a “structure reform” and said it would help account for a $100 million shortfall built up over recent years.

“It’s supporting a long range pathway towards a stronger and more sustainable financial future for the corporation,” Mr Rigby said in a letter to the ESC.

The letter also included plans to have a proposed ‘demand adjusted revenue cap’ to set prices between 2014-18.

“As consulted with customers, this means that prices will not be “locked in” but would be adjusted from year to year to ensure bill swings for customers (both positive and negative) were automatically mitigated.” 

A draft of the water plan will be released by the ESC in mid-March and will be open to further submissions from the public.

ESC chairman Dr Ron Ben-David said the proposals would give Bendigo the most expensive water in regional Victoria.

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