Temporary reprieve on water prices

WITH the cost of living seemingly forever going up, local water users are set to get a temporary reprieve.

State Water Minister Ian Hunter said water prices would rise by no more than CPI for the next two financial years.

"Last year, this government introduced the economic regulation of SA Water by the Essential Services Commission of SA," he said.

"ESCOSA now caps the amount of revenue that SA Water can collect - delivering greater transparency and accountability on water pricing.

"As a result, water prices dropped by 6.4 per cent this financial year, and a commitment was made that prices would rise by no more than CPI for the next two financial years."

In line with this commitment, water prices for 2014-15 will rise by 2.9 per cent, as will metropolitan sewerage charges. 

The minimum sewerage charge and the majority of miscellaneous fees and charges will also increase on average by 2.9 per cent, while country sewerage charges will increase by 3.4 per cent.

Historically, sewerage prices in country areas have been lower than those in metropolitan areas given lower property values in regional areas.

This slightly greater increase reflects the lower average sewerage bill currently charged to country customers.

In total, the combined water and sewerage increases for average customers will be around $38, or $9.50 per bill.

As well as regulating water prices Minister Hunter said the government will offer a 30 per cent concession to help South Australians struggling with cost of living pressures.

"State Government concessions for the coming year will offer a minimum of $185 and a maximum of $295 to those who meet the criteria," he said.

"In addition, we have committed to introducing a single concession payment from July next year to simplify family budgeting by providing all concession payments for the year in one single payment."