A fairer deal for all - GMW's landmark Pricing Submission endorsed

Tuesday 9 June, 2020

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has now provided its final determination on the highly anticipated Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) Pricing Submission 2020-24.

The ESCs decision - in what is being described as a new era for GMW and a fairer deal for all – approved GMW’s proposal for a landmark reduction in its revenue requirement, enabling the organisation to reduce costs and implement several important changes to its tariff structure.

During the next pricing period (from 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2024) most GMW customers will receive on average a 10 per cent drop on their bill. Some fee changes will take effect from 1 July 2020 while other changes will be implemented through a transition period.

From 1 July 2020, customers can expect:

  • uniform pricing for gravity irrigation customers
  • a drop in the Infrastructure Access Fee and Infrastructure Use Fee for gravity irrigation customers
  • a move to system pricing for all water share owners
  • service point fees simplified by treating all meters the same way; and
  • a single customer charge (please note this will begin in 2021).

These changes follow the Strategic Advisory Panel Review announced by Minister for Water Lisa Neville in 2017 and the subsequent transformation process to make GMW’s operations more efficient and sustainable.

This work is now helping us to deliver these price reductions for our customers and we will continue working to provide sustainable and affordable services to the region.

A feature of the new pricing structure is the unification of all irrigation areas to deliver uniform pricing. The Goulburn Murray Irrigation District comprises six irrigation areas with a two district pricing model previously applied where five areas paid one set of fees while one area paid a higher fee.

“This is a fantastic outcome underpinned by the ongoing transformation and now continuous improvement of our business,” Managing Director Charmaine Quick said. As we continue to drive efficiencies and innovation across GMW through the consolidation and reduction of costs, we can now pass these savings on to our customers.

“Our latest pricing submission reflects a number of changes to our charges and how we apply our fees, without impacting our service standards. 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. Our plan will provide:

  • price reductions for almost all our customers
  • efficiencies and cost reductions (without impacting on your level of service)
  • reprioritised expenditure into the areas that provide you with the best value for money; and
  • tariff reform.

“We are writing to customers to describe in detail the changes they will see on their next GMW bill and how we are transitioning our fee structure this year and over the course of the next four years.”

Community engagement

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

As part of this consultation process, they 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, 75 Water Services Committee members, one service standard summit day and two pricing and tariff summit days.

Background

  • 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