Gippsland Water customers could see lower bills and increased value under its draft proposal for the next five years.
The water business has released a summary of its proposed prices, promises and projects until 2028, and is calling for community feedback.
Managing Director Sarah Cumming said the proposal – which had been shaped with input from 3,500 customers over two years – would deliver welcome news for its customers amid global inflation and the increased cost of living.
“We’re aiming to deliver a price decrease of between $20-30 excluding inflation for the average urban customer, with the majority of the decrease applied in year one.
This offering has partly been made possible due to a strong mandate our customers have set for us following two years of engagement, being that the cost of our services should be covered by those who use them."
“We also undertook a major review of our operating costs and found a number of efficiencies that will help to put further downward pressure on bills,” Ms Cumming said.
Other highlights of the proposal include:
- $269 million for capital works to cater for higher growth and improved service levels across the region
- $10 million for energy projects to make Gippsland Water’s systems more resilient and to boost its renewable energy generation
- More support for customers experiencing financial difficulties, domestic violence and disadvantage
- Introduction of a new developer charge to cover the full cost of new connections to Gippsland Water’s network
- Enhanced customer information services including SMS messaging, an online outage tracker and an app to give customers better ability to monitor their water usage and more flexibility to manage their payments
Ms Cumming said the customer-led proposal was developed based on community input gathered and validated through surveys, pop-up events, online events, in-depth interviews, focus groups, stakeholder meetings, and its first ever deliberative customer summit.
“We’re really proud to be able to deliver a proposal that customers have genuinely shaped and we’re encouraging everyone to take a look and let us know if they think we’ve got it right.
“We’ll take your feedback on board and make sure all voices are heard before we finalise our proposal and present our final Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission in September this year.”
Community feedback on Gippsland Water’s Price Submission 2023-28 Directions Paper is open until 29 July 2022.
For more information and to have your say, visit www.gippswater.com.au/have-your-say