For the first time since it began setting water prices NSW’s pricing tribunal (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) has proposed more than halving stormwater charges by Sydney Water for properties with rain tanks or significant water detention.
The draft pricing decision reduces the current price by about two thirds and reads:
“We have introduced a new category of low impact houses for residential stormwater customers who demonstrate that their property makes a relatively small contribution to stormwater load. These customers would be charged $23.61 in 2016-17, the same rate as apartments, and a reduction from $86.02 in 2015-16.”
Submissions on the draft prices must be lodged with the Tribunal by Monday 18 April.
There are some key gaps in the Tribunal’s draft pricing proposal, including:
· Fixed charges are not paid for a property which is not connected to mains water or sewer.
· Why then are fixed charges paid for stormwater on a property which is also not connected to either the council or Sydney Water’s stormwater system?
· Where is the financial or hydraulic evidence that a house which retains all its stormwater has any quantifiable impact on the depreciation costs of the stormwater infrastructure of the council or Sydney Water?
I suggest no charge should be paid for a property which does not use a council or government monopoly stormwater system.
If a charge is paid that seems to be an abuse of monopoly power over property owners, and to encourage dependency and to discourage the use of rain tanks and independent water services.
Go here to make a submission.