16 June 2022

Thank the wet weather for lower water, sewerage bills - here's what you will save

| Lottie Twyford
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Water flowing over dam

The Cotter Dam was overflowing earlier this year – all that wet weather means Canberra households will save around $26 a year. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

ACT residents will enjoy savings of around $30 a year off their water and sewerage from 1 July – thanks, partly, to all the wet weather the region has experienced.

It follows an announcement last week that Canberra households will be shielded from skyrocketing prices for electricity due to the Territory’s unique arrangements with renewable energy generators around the country.

The ACT’s economic regulator announced this afternoon (15 June) that the maximum Icon Water can charge for water and sewerage for 2022–23 will drop for residential and non-residential customers.

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Senior Commissioner Joe Dimasi said average residential customer bills would be cheaper by about 2.2 per cent, equating to an annual reduction of $26 for a household that consumes 200 kL of water per annum.

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Non-residential customers will have their bills fall by between $384 and $4437, depending on water consumption and the number of flushable fixtures installed.

“An average non-residential customer consuming 5000 kL per annum with 50 flushable fixtures installed will see their bill decrease by $2186 per annum, a decrease of 4.5 per cent,” Mr Dimasi explained.

The lower prices reflect a lower water abstraction charge than had been forecast due to wet weather conditions.

Two men with umbrellas walking in the rain

It’s been raining and pouring – but at least households will now save on their water bills. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Meteorology said Canberra had experienced its wettest May since records began. The airport recorded almost three times the usual average rainfall for the month.

According to Icon Water, the dams that supply the Territory are currently at 100 per cent capacity.

The ICRC said that a lower cost of debt and an adjustment to account for an over-recovery of the 2019–20 water abstraction charge can also be thanked for the lower prices.

Prices went up last year by about 2 per cent after Icon Water ‘unfroze’ its prices.

In 2020, the water distributor didn’t pass on its allowed price range of 1.52 per cent to customers due to the pandemic, which meant households had two years’ worth of increases last year.

However, Icon Water wasn’t allowed to recover its foregone revenue for the previous year.

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The Precinct Charge that developers pay to Icon Water to fund infrastructure upgrades will fall to $1094 per equivalent population, down from $1200 in 2021–22.

This reflects changes in population projection and the higher level of infill proposed by the ACT Government.

Throughout the year, Icon Water will finalise the O’Connor Reservoir upgrade. It will also continue upgrading the capacity of the Belconnen trunk sewer main and will be cleaning around 300 km of wastewater pipes across the ACT.

Icon Water has a range of flexible payment options available to support those seeking long or short-term financial assistance through payment arrangements tailored to suit individual needs.

Its Staying Connected hardship program is available to assist residential and small business customers needing more personalised support with flexible and affordable payment plans.

Original Article published by Lottie Twyford on Riotact.

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