Most residential customers discharge about the same amount of sewerage. There is less variability in volume than for residential water usage.
It is too expensive to meter residential sewer discharges.
Customers have previously complained about a range of issues to do with the usage charges.
What you told us
In 2018 we asked our customers to tell us how they would like us to invest to help create the region our communities desire. The results showed that most residential customers are willing to pay more to provide some higher liveability and environmental service standards.
These outcomes have informed our 2020-2025 pricing submission to IPART.
What is the Price Review?
Our prices are based on what it costs Hunter Water to provide our services. Providing higher levels of service costs more, so it's important that we balance our service levels with affordability.
Our prices are periodically reviewed and determined by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). IPART’s current price determination applies until 30 June 2020. We will be making a submission to IPART by 30 June 2019 that will help to set prices from 1 July 2020.
How much control do I have over my Hunter Water bills?
Part of a bill is fixed and part is variable. Customers can control their bills by changing the amount of water used, which reduces the amount of variable charges payable.
The typical household annual water and sewer bill is made up of a variable component of 37%. Variable charges make up 89% of the 2017-18 typical household annual water only bill.
Setting the right level of fixed and variable water charges is challenging. Over the next six months, to inform our price submission we will offer opportunities to provide feedback on your preferred mix of fixed and variable charges.
Why is the sewer bill a fixed price?
Hunter Water charged all customers a fixed sewer service charge and a variable sewer usage charge until 2009. Some of the reasons for not charging residential customers a sewer usage charge are:
In addition, the costs of providing sewerage services are almost entirely fixed with only a small proportion of costs related to the volume of discharges. Sewer usage charges are better suited to non-residential customers because their discharges vary more, the volume discharged is controllable without compromising health and metering may be cost effective.