Sydney water bills slashed by $100

Peter Terlato 15 June 2016

$100 Australian dollar bill

A typical household will be paying 8.2% less for water in 2016-17.

From July this year, residents of Sydney can expect their water bills to be about $100 cheaper each year until 2020.

The significant savings are a result of Sydney Water's revised reductions in operating expenditure, capital expenditure and lower financing costs.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has allowed for an extra $78 million in revenue to $9.6 billion over the next four years. However, this figure is still below Sydney Water's original pricing proposal from June 2015.

“This final determination strikes a good balance between increasing Sydney Water's efficiency to enable savings to be passed onto customers, while maintaining the revenue required to meet its required service levels," IPART chairman Dr Peter Boxall says.

The annual household bill for Sydney Water customers will decrease by around $100 in 2016-17 and, in the years following, prices will be pegged to inflation.

The tribunal's determination involves a reduction in water usage charges of 31 cents per kL to $1.97 per kL.

Fixed water and wastewater service charges will also be lowered for most customers.

For example, a typical household consuming 220 kL of water per year will see its annual bill decrease by $100 or 8.2% in 2016-17 (including inflation), $29 lower than under Sydney Water’s proposed bills.

IPART also included a caveat for periods when dam levels are low, whereby if the Sydney Desalination Plant is forced into operation there will be an additional water usage charge.

From 1 July 2016, large non-residential customers will be able to negotiate unregulated pricing agreements for the first time.

Unfortunately for residents of the Hunter region, water bills are set to rise an additional $25 in 2016-17. Bills are then expected to increase by between $54 and $58 per year until 2020.

And how do we pay our dues? The latest research from finder revealed 66% of Aussie card holders use their credit card to pay regular monthly bills, while an alarmingly high number are taking out cash advances.

Last week we reported that financial hardship was a huge factor in determining the affordability of electricity costs and despite our water bills taking a cut, new economic research shows that in the next five years the average Australian will be paying an extra $1,228 per year in tax.

Picture: Shutterstock

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