Bunbury residents will be slugged an extra $39 for water in 2013-14 if the State Government adopts new water tariffs recommended by WA’s economic watchdog.
In a new report, Economic Regulatory Authority said Aqwest’s residential customers should pay an extra 12.5 per cent a year for the next three years.
By the year 2015-16 the yearly water bill for an average residential customer should be $449, the ERA said last week when releasing the findings of its inquiry into the efficiency of water services.
Aqwest chief executive Brad Bevis said if the ERA’s recommendations were endorsed, Bunbury’s water prices for average residential customers would remain the lowest in WA.
“While Aqwest’s average residential charges are recommended to increase by 12.3 per cent it needs to be noted that this is from a current low base,” Mr Bevis said.
“The National Water Commission’s national benchmarking of urban water utilities found Aqwest’s typical residential bill prices to be among the lowest in Australia.”
Commercial customers in Bunbury can also expect an increase of 12.3 per cent which – in dollar terms – equals $424 more for the average customer.
Mr Bevis said the increases would reflect the true cost of water services.
Aqwest provides water services to Bunbury and surrounding areas at a significantly cheaper price than both the Busselton Water Board and Water Corp.
Aqwest plans to spend $19.3 million by 2015-16, with $6 million on a treatment plant in Glen Iris.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray has called the recommended increases ‘‘huge’’ and “far too high”.
Busselton customers will pay an extra $27 in 2013-14 from a rise of 6.8 per cent.
The Authority has recommended water prices for the Water Corp’s city customers should fall by $100.
The Government will consider the advice of the Authority before determining water tariffs as part of the annual budget process.