The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) recently commenced its review of prices for water, wastewater and stormwater services for Hunter Water Corporation. In response, Hunter Water has sought price rises that would increase the average residential water bill by 54 per cent or $389 over the next four years. PIAC’s submission to IPART expressed concern about the impact of these water price increases on low-income and other disadvantaged residents and recommended enhanced financial and other programs to assist consumers to manage increasing water bills. Proposals included a much needed increase to the pensioner rebate, the allocation of adequate resources for water vouchers, the roll out of household water audits, and the development of a No Interest Loan Scheme. In a bid to reduce the extent of the price increase, PIAC also asked IPART to refer to more recent population projections than those employed by Hunter Water when determining the necessity of the proposed capital expenditure program.
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