State, Unitywater in blame game over rises

A SURGE in the price of electricity, coupled with a hefty State Government increase in the bulk water price, are reasons Unitywater says your water bill is going to go up.

The water retailer has announced its proposed increase of 3.5% for the next year.

When the State Government's 13.2% increase for bulk water is included, a small Sunshine Coast family of a couple and one child, with a garden or pool, can expect a $64 spike in their annual bill.

This bill will go up by about $101 for heavier users, such as couples with two children and a garden or a pool.

However a Department of Energy and Water Supply spokesman has pointed the finger back at Unitywater for the continuing price rises.

"Unitywater's own figures show state bulk water charges represent about a quarter of the average bill, while

Unitywater's two shareholding councils, The Moreton Bay Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council, pocket 25 cents in every dollar charged to consumers," the spokesman said.

"Unlike Unitywater, Seqwater does not make a profit. Seqwater makes a loss and is debt-funded.

"The Newman Government recognises many people simply cannot afford to pay the full cost of Labor's planning failures and reckless spending, which is why bulk water prices do not meet the full costs of operating the supply system.

"South-east Queensland bulk water price increases are the legacy of Labor's planning failures and the reckless spending that followed the SEQ water supply crisis, including spending $715 million on the non-existent Traveston Dam."

Unitywater CEO George Theo said in the past three years about $38 million had been saved from the operating budget to keep costs low. However, "significant rises in some costs" including the purchase of consumables, services and electricity, had contributed to the need for a price hike.

"In 2012-13, we spent $9 million on electricity, we expect to spend around $10.2 million this year and $10.8 million next year," Mr Theo said.

Unitywater planned to invest an estimated $113 million in the next financial year to support the "ongoing delivery of water and sewerage services".

 

COUNTING COST

Expected customer bill impacts:

  • Single pensioner using 29.2kl a year: $34.26 increase from $831.50 a year to $865.76 (4.1% increase).
  • Two adults, one child and garden or pool using 131.4kl a year: $63.77 a year increase from $1146.13 a year to $1209.90 a year (5.6%).
  • Two adults, two children and garden or pool using 259.88kl a year: $100.74 increase a year from $1541.67 to $1642.41 a year (6.5%)

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