Northern irrigators see prices drop

ESC agrees to GMW's pricing submission

Water
PRICE REDUCTION: Water Minister Lisa Neville has welcomed GMW's price reduction.

PRICE REDUCTION: Water Minister Lisa Neville has welcomed GMW's price reduction.

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GMW's savings to be passed on to customers.

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The Victorian government has welcomed the Essential Services Commission's determination meaning Goulburn-Murray Water customers will see a significant drop in their prices in the new financial year.

The decision means most GMW customers - predominantly irrigators - will see an average 10 per cent drop in prices from 1 July 2020.

There'll be a continued 1pc reduction for each of the following three financial years.

Water Minister Lisa Neville said the government's actions to support northern Victorian irrigators have secured lower bills for customers, underpinning the future of the district.

"This pricing decision is good news for Goulburn-Murray Water customers including irrigators, regional communities and surrounding business which rely on the agriculture industry," Ms Neville said.

"We will continue to work with GMW on its transformation - ensuring it will continue to improve affordability and sustainability for its customers."

The price decrease would offer relief to the GMW customers who have faced significant challenges in recent years, with dry conditions and drought putting upward pressure on water prices.

The pricing structure, approved and announced by the ESC, reflected a $64 million reduction in costs by GMW over the next four years.

The ESC noted the extensive consultation work undertaken by GMW and its customers during the price decision process.

Delivery of the $2 billion Connections Project modernising infrastructure in the GMID remains on track - underpinning agriculture in the region for generations to come.

Connections was also crucial to Victoria meeting its water recovery obligations under the Basin Plan without any further buybacks.

GMW's managing director Charmaine Quick said as the organisation continued to drive efficiencies and innovation, through consolidation and reduction of costs, it could now pass on savings to customers.

"Our latest pricing submission reflects a number of changes to our charges and how we apply our fees, without impacting our service standards," Ms Quick said.

"By implementing uniform pricing, we are now delivering a minimum reduction of $400 per year for all customers on their access fee per delivery share.

"Our customers have been clear in what they want - a fairer deal for all is the overwhelming message."

Drawing on lengthy and in-depth customer engagement, Ms Quick said GMW reached more than 10 per cent of its customer base to inform the Pricing Submission.

As part of this consultation process, it achieved significant reach through more than 1000 face-to-face conversations, 3000 online visits to Your Say, 1300 customer conversations, 36 customer forum participants, 18 customer workshops, three major customer events, 34 drop-in days, one service standard summit day and two pricing and tariff summit days.

Every four years, GMW puts forward its proposed Pricing Submission outlining annual fees and charges to the ESC as the independent regulatory authority.

GMW is a non-profit authority and its pricing is structured to recover the costs of the services it provides and to maintain its assets including the dams, channels and meters it operates; now and into the future.

The plan has been approved by the ESC after two independent rounds of consultation during a three-month period.

For more information visit www.gmwater.com.au/pricing

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