Hunter Water price changes approved

THE state’s pricing watchdog has allowed Hunter Water to bring forward its pricing structure a year early, but the utility is promising that prices won’t rise any more or any quicker than already announced.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPaRT) approved the request yesterday, bringing Hunter Water’s four-year pricing periods into line with Sydney’s.

The move allows Hunter Water to apply for a new pricing schedule which will take effect on July 1, 2016, instead of July 1, 2017.

Last year, the tribunal allowed Hunter Water to lift the average water user’s bill by about $104 over four years.

Yesterday, Hunter Water boss Kim Wood said the change wouldn’t mean that water users would be paying more, but it would assist Hunter Water “in its drive for savings and efficiencies”.

“Hunter Water will request that IPaRT retain the already approved water prices for 2016-17 to avoid any changes to previously announced prices.”

The approved water and sewer prices of the final year of the current price path would become the first year of the new price path.

“Aligning Hunter Water with Sydney Water and the Sydney Catchment Authority will remove the current duplication, expense and inefficiencies caused by running three price determinations over two years rather than at the same time,” Mr Wood said.