Coliban Water plans 16% price hikes for Bendigo

COLIBAN Water wants to increase Bendigo water prices by 16 per cent from next year. 

Managing director Jeff Rigby said people were using less water following restrictions, which meant the company was not receiving as much money as predicted. 

“The whole focus of our water plan has been to get a basis of pricing in place that ensures that Coliban Water can maintain its financial sustainability into the future,” he said.  

“Part of that is being able to recover revenue for the services it provides to meet its efficient and justified costs in the delivery of that service.”

The company has price cycles lasting five years. Mr Rigby said the last cycle overestimated people’s water usage, which meant the company did not receive as much revenue.

“Consumption has gone down considerably,” he said. 

“It means the prices have to go up in order for us to maintain our revenue.”

 The average home will pay $1130 for the 2013-14 financial year, up from $976, under the plan, which must be assessed and approved by the Essential Services Commission. 

When coupled with sewer services, prices will rise by 11 per cent in the first year and a further 3 per cent each year until 2018. 

Mr Rigby said the previous plan adopted in 2008 estimated homes would use about 200 kilolitres of water a year, but the actual figure was about 155 kilolitres. 

Mr Rigby said the ESC was likely to determine if the price rise was justified by May 2013. 

The plan covers the Bendigo, Castlemaine and Kyneton areas.

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