THE Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has given Icon Water the green light to increase its water and sewerage prices by 2 per cent from July 1. 

Last year, Icon Water was allowed to raise prices by up to 1.52 per cent but decided to freeze water prices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, however, Icon Water has indicated that it will “unfreeze” water prices, meaning that the 2 per cent allowed increase is the combined effect of this year’s maximum price change of 0.4 per cent and the maximum price change for last year — 1.52 per cent.

An increase of 2 per cent will see the average residential customer, consuming 200kL per annum, pay an extra 45c per week on their water and sewerage bill during the 2021-22 financial year. 

For non-residential customers, bill changes will range from increases of up to $7.64 per week, to decreases of up to $26.12 per week, depending on water consumption and the number of flushable fixtures installed, the price adjustment report revealed. 

A mid-level non-residential customer consuming 5000kL per annum with 50 flushable fixtures installed will see their bill decrease by $8.33 per week, or $433 per annum (a decrease of 0.9 per cent).

Following the release of the report by the commission, senior commissioner Joe Dimasi said: “The slight increase in residential customer bills versus the decrease in non-residential customer bills is because sewerage charges make up a greater portion of non-residential bills due to the instalment of flushable fixtures. So, the decreases in sewerage charges from last year impact non-residential bills more than residential bills.

“Icon Water’s decision to freeze prices last year meant that it would forgo the additional revenue it was entitled to earn under last year’s price reset.

“This year’s 2 per cent increase will bring prices back to the normal trajectory of the maximum price level that it is allowed to charge. However, this will not allow Icon Water to recover the forgone revenue.” 

The Precinct Charge that developers pay to Icon Water to fund infrastructure upgrades will increase to $1200 per equivalent population, up from $1100 in 2020–21. The increase reflects a rise in forecast capital expenditure by Icon Water.

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Ian Meikle, editor