Price Review 2018-2023
Price Review Results (March 2018)
In September 2017, Central Highlands Water submitted a service pricing proposal to the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The proposal was for a five year period starting 1 July 2018.
The ESC has made a draft decision regarding the Central Highlands Water proposal to deliver on its customer service commitments, government policy, and obligations monitored by Environment Protection Authority Victoria and Department of Health and Human Services.
The ESC Report Summary stated, “Central Highlands Water has demonstrated its proposals will deliver better value to its customers. In particular, it has proposed to increase service levels, focusing on areas of most importance to its customers. As well, its prices are generally stable or falling, implying customers generally will receive more for less”.
Dr Ben-David says these latest decisions have confirmed a new water pricing framework is delivering for customers.
Central Highlands Water General Manager, Customer and Community, Jacqueline O’Neill said, “Our submission to the ESC was in response to our recent 12-month community engagement initiative ‘Let’s Talk Water’, where we spoke to over 1,000 people across the region in order to better understand what was important to them.”
The ESC’s support of the price submission endorses Central Highlands Water to increase service levels for customers, improve the water quality for a number of towns and limit price increases to below inflation.
“To continue our customer focus our Let’s Talk Water community engagement continues, with consultation currently underway in Learmonth. This will be followed by community engagement in Waubra and Clunes,” said Ms O’Neill.
Central Highlands Water have partnered with water authorities across the state to provide water saving advice to customers through smartwatermark.org/Victoria and offer a range of customer assistance programmes, such as payment assistance options and payment plans.
Price Review Submission (August 2017)
Central Highlands Water (CHW) will deliver a range of new and improved services and provide pricing certainty for the next five years as it today released its proposed services and prices for 2018-2023.
These prices and services have been developed in consultation with over 1,000 CHW customers and stakeholders over the past 12 months through the organisation’s Let’s Talk Water campaign and including CHW’s Customer Reference Group. The proposal will be submitted to the organisation’s economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) at the end of September 2017.
“Our Let’s Talk Water campaign has been one of the biggest customer engagement campaigns conducted by our organisation,” said Managing Director, Paul O’Donohue.
“Many of the services and projects that we are proposing are new services developed directly in response to what our customers told us was important to them,” said Mr O’Donohue.
Proposed new services and prices include: online customer account access, SMS/email alerts for planned or unplanned water supply interruptions, options for improved water quality of small towns and digital metering for all customers.
Addressing cost of living pressures was also a key priority and as a result CHW is proposing that bills will be capped at or below CPI for all customers over the five year pricing period.
Victorian water corporations are required by the state’s independent economic regulator, the ESC, to submit a Price Review every five years which details the services and prices that customers will receive.
Following CHW’s submission at the end of September 2017, the ESC will make the final price determination, with final prices and services to come into effect from 1 July 2018.
What is a Price Review?
Every five years, Victorian water corporations are required by their economic regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) to submit a Price Review, which details the services and prices customers will receive over the next five year period.
The 2018 Price Review Submission is due September 29, 2017 (for the period 2018-2023).
Ensuring customer priorities and values of customers are reflected in the next five year pricing period is a major component and focus of both Central Highlands Water and the ESC.
About Let’s Talk Water
The aim Let’s Talk Water was to determine the key issues, priorities and values of our customers across the entire CHW region, and most importantly, propose new or improved services for the Price Review 2018 submission that deliver a significant improvement in customer value.
- Let’s Talk Water activities have included (but are not limited to):
- Customer satisfaction survey of 834 customers, with all customers invited to participate via the regular CHW water bill
- 23 CHW community visits
- One-on-one meetings with major commercial customers
- Meetings with local government and regulatory agencies
- Young leaders Focus Group
- A Community Discussion Forum with 46 customers attending from across the region
- Establishment of the Let’s Talk Water Customer Reference Group.
Pictured: Let’s Talk Water Customer Forum, April 2017