In July 2008 the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) began the process of determining the price of water, wastewater and stormwater services for Hunter Water Corporation from 1 July 2009. PIAC made a submission to the Issues Paper and also appeared at the public hearing. IPART then released its Draft Determinations and Report that suggests that the typical water bill will increase by 31 per cent by 2012-13. In its submission to the Draft Determinations and Report, PIAC endorses IPART’s rejection of Hunter Water’s proposal to increase the typical residential bill by 54 per cent but remains concerned that the recommended 31 per cent increase represents a substantial burden for customers. PIAC is particularly concerned about the capacity of low-income and other disadvantaged households to cope with the proposed price increases over the determination period. In response, PIAC advocates for improvements to the pensioner water rebate and the introduction of a mandatory hardship program. PIAC also asks IPART to reconsider household contributions to the construction of the Tillegra Dam, the return on assets to Hunter Water, and the large increase in the first year of the determination.
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