Consumer Action has joined with the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre and the Victorian Council of Social Service to provide a submission to the Melbourne Water Price Review. Water is a basic essential need of all households and its cost has increased in recent years to become a significant component of vulnerable households’ expenditure. Given this, the submission welcomes the proposal from Melbourne Water to decrease wholesale water charges. It estimates that water and sewage services are expected to decrease by 6 per cent (including inflation) in 2016/17 and then increase in line with inflation only.
The submission also comments on the way Melbournians should pay for the desalination plant. The desalination plant will last for around 60 years, however Melbourne Water is only required to pay for it over 27 years. We support Melbourne Water collecting the cost from customers over the estimated 60 year life of the plant, rather than the 27 year contracted payment period. This will mean lower prices today for those that benefit from the desalination plant, and also mean that future consumers who benefit from the plant will also contribute to its cost.