The commission’s director of pricing Marcus Crudden says the proposed plan will lower bills for Gippsland Water customers in real terms from 1 July 2023.
“Under Gippsland Water’s proposed pricing schedule, typical annual water and sewerage bills for residential customers will change by around six per cent less than inflation from 1 July,” Mr Crudden said.
Based on the water business’ proposal, water and sewerage bills for households will fall from around $1360 to $1280 in 2023-24.
Mr Crudden said the business has committed to delivering outcomes that reflect customer priorities over the five-year pricing period, based on extensive engagement with stakeholders.
“Gippsland Water has committed to establishing new initiatives and pathways for Aboriginal people. This includes more opportunities for Aboriginal employment with the business and exploring opportunities to make land managed by Gippsland Water available for cultural use,” he said.
As well as investing in critical infrastructure to support high quality and reliable services, Gippsland Water’s pricing proposal outlines other key initiatives including introducing SMS messages to contact customers in the event of a service disruption, and enabling customers to monitor their usage and more flexibly manage their bill payments through a dedicated app.
“Our draft decision reflects the improved quality of Gippsland Water’s 2023 price submission compared to its 2018 submission, underpinned by a strong engagement program and ambition to deliver additional value to customers,” Mr Crudden said.
The commission is inviting customers and stakeholders to have their say on the draft decision by lodging submissions on the Engage Victoria website or participating in a public forum in April.
“The Essential Services Commission thanks customers and stakeholders for their submissions and participation to date. We value and encourage your feedback on this next stage to help inform our final decision on Gippsland Water’s 2023-28 pricing proposal,” Mr Crudden said.
Details of the Gippsland public forum will be made available on the Engage Victoria website. Written comments or submissions in response to this submission are due to the commission by 28 April 2023.
The commission’s final decision on the Gippsland Water pricing proposal is due in June 2023.