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New report compares performance of water corporations
14 December 2016
A new report shows water corporations are providing households with good quality, reliable water supplies while water bills have increased an average of four per cent across the state.
The Essential Services Commission report shows the increase in bills was mainly due to inflation (1.4 per cent) and a rise in water consumption (2.5 per cent).
The Commission’s water director, Marcus Crudden, says consumption increased mainly due to a hot and dry summer.
“Consumption varies across the state but generally, over the past year, consumption increased more in regional areas pushing up household bills in the state’s north and northwest”.
Mr Crudden says while average household consumption increased by eight per cent in regional Victoria, the increase was just three per cent in Melbourne.
“The statewide average for household consumption in 2015-16 was 167 kilolitres, five per cent higher than the 159 kilolitre average in 2014-15.
“This is typical for a drier summer with higher temperatures and lower rainfall experienced over 2014-15,” he said.
For the second year in a row, customers of North East Water (including Wodonga and Wangaratta) had the lowest typical annual bills at $885 followed by customers of Goulburn Valley Water (including Shepparton) at $925. In metropolitan Melbourne, customers of City West Water had the lowest bills at $944.
At the other end, customers of GWMWater in the state’s north-west had the highest typical household bills at $1359 followed by Coliban Water at $1342 and Gippsland Water at $1249.
Mr Crudden says reporting on the performance of water businesses is important.
“Part of our role is promoting customer awareness and right now, water businesses across the state are talking to their communities to prepare new pricing proposals.
“Our new water pricing framework puts a premium on community engagement and for that you need a well-informed community,” he said.
Other key observations:
Reliability of water supply improved slightly across the state with overall water supply interruptions down from 36.2 to 35.8 interruptions per one hundred kilometres of water main – a one per cent improvement.
Regional water businesses performed better overall on reliability terms than their metropolitan counterparts with an average 23.0 supply interruptions compared to 47.5 per one hundred kilometres of water main.
Complaints to water businesses rose sharply by 17 per cent in 2015-16 however complaints to the energy and water ombudsman only rose three per cent.
The 12 899 complaints in 2015-16 follows a record low of 10 764 in 2014-15 and is more consistent with longer term averages.
Two corporations (Yarra Valley and City West) accounted for more than two-thirds of the increase with changes to recording of complaints or billing records likely contributing significantly to the rise in complaints.