Hunter Water's overall pricing structure is determined by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART); an independent NSW government agency that sets prices for a range of government services including water, public transport and aspects of gas and electricity charges.
Customer Charges from 1 July 2016
IPART conducted a public review of Hunter Water's prices for water, sewerage, stormwater and other services throughout 2015-16. The IPART process starting with Hunter Water lodging its price submission on 30 June 2015 and included a call for public submissions on an issues paper and draft report, and two public hearings.
IPART's Final Determination of Hunter Water's prices applies for the four-year period from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2020. Hunter Water is legally obliged to set its prices in accordance with the IPART Determination.
IPART set a higher revenue allowance for Hunter Water over the four-year period. This results in a real increase in most prices and charges over the price period, moderated in part by forecast growth in Hunter Water's water sales and customer connections. The water usage price stays stable in real terms at $2.22 per kilolitre, and the water service charge rises from $17.75 in 2015-16 to $93.95 in 2019-20.
IPART has decided to continue the transition to a common residential wastewater service charge. Owner of flats and units will pay a wastewater charge that is 82.5% of the equivalent charge for standalone houses in 2019-20, up from the current 72.5%. As a result, the wastewater service charge for owners of flats and units rises from $430.35 in 2015-16 to $499.96 in 2019-20. The increase for apartment owners results in more modest increases for the owners of houses, with the wastewater charge rising from $593.58 in 2015-16 to $606.01 in 2019-20.
Hunter Water had one of the lowest water bills in Australia at $1,060 per annum in 2015-16. IPART decided to limit bill increases in 2016-17, recognising that Hunter Water had asked IPART to make the determination a year early. The typical bill for a household will increase in real terms by 1% in 2016-17 and 2.4% in each of the remaining three years. The owners of apartments will face higher charges through time, with the typical bill rising from $819 in 2015-16 to $1,053 in 2019-20. Pensioner bills will rise in line with the typical household bill - $670 in 2015-16 to $802 in 2019-20.
The dollar values reported above do not include forecast inflation.
IPART released its Determination on the maximum prices that Hunter Water can charge customers for water, sewerage and stormwater drainage during the next four years from 1 July 2016 - 30 June 2020.