Affordable water bills locked in for eight years

North East Water will lock-in its prices for the next eight years as part of a plan that has now been given the green light by the Essential Services Commission (ESC).

Executive Corporate Services, Anthony Hernan, said the Corporation submitted its proposal outlining pricingfor customers, new infrastructure and service improvements until 2026.

“We’re really pleased that the ESC approved our plan with no amendments to customer pricing”, Mr Hernansaid.

“Our customers have some of the lowest water bills in Australia and this is set to continue with the averageresidential water bill to increase by 0.45% or approximately $4 a year.

“We wanted to keep our increases as low as possible as we recognise that affordability of essential servicesis an important issue for households and businesses.

“The ESC has approved our prices for eight years rather than the historical five year price setting.

“This idea was strongly driven by our major customers, who value being able to have price certaintyparticularly in an era of highly volatile energy prices.”

Mr Hernan added, “We’ll be spending $140M on capital projects over this period which include majorinvestments in renewable energy to help reduce regional carbon emissions and lower energy costs.”

“We’re planning for a warmer, drier climate and we need to start planning now to mitigate and adapt tochanging conditions.

“Our plan was informed by more than 12 months of community engagement in a program that included town information kiosks, focus groups, community forums and customer roundtables, as well as engaging withTraditional Owners and other stakeholders.

“This widespread engagement really helped us understand the expectations of our customers andcommunities and we believe that this has been reflected in our submission.”

The new pricing period begins on 1 July 2018 and will end on 30 June 2026.