Residential water rates from July 1 this year will include an increase of up to $20 to fix an IPART clerical error.
Central Coast Council’s water rates for next financial year have been adopted in line with the Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal (IPART) ruling.
Council’s Water, Sewerage and Stormwater Drainage fees and charges for 2021-2022 are based on IPART’s decision in 2019 which set the rates for three years.
The rate included yearly allowances for CPI increases which have been set for next year’s bills.
The multiplier for 2021-2022 is a two-year multiplier and is the sum of the March 2019 to March 2020 Consumer Price Index movement of 2.2 percent and the March 2020 to March 2021 Consumer Price Index movement of 1.1 percent.
Council estimated in its draft fees and charges, which went out on public exhibition, that the increase would be 3.7 per cent so the final figure is less at 3.3 per cent.
However, IPART made a clerical error in its 2019 determination which meant that for the past two years, Council set sewer service charges at marginally lower than they should have been.
This reduced the sewer service charge revenue that Council was able to collect over the three-year determination period by $1.8M, or one percent.
It resulted in customers paying between $5 to $10 less in each of the past two years.
So that Council can recover this revenue, sewer service charges will increase from July 1, 2021.
Council said that while customers would pay slightly higher prices in 2021-2022, they would pay no more in total than what was intended over the three-year determination period.
“This is because lower prices were applied for the first two years of the determination period,” Council said.
The estimated revenue to be raised from Water, Sewer and Stormwater Drainage Service Charges based on the IPART determinations for 2021-2022 is $164M.
Council adopted the fee structure at its May 25 meeting but had to amend the decision at its June 1 meeting after it, too, made some clerical errors.
Typographical errors in the fee structure saw three fees misquoted in the miscellaneous charges.
Council said the three fees would have no impact on the estimated revenue as it was based on service charges and the Miscellaneous Charges do not form part of the calculation and are a minor revenue source.
The typographical errors related to changes in cents, not dollar figures.
Council’s water, sewerage and stormwater drainage charges are subject to approval by the Minister for Primary Industries under the Water Management Act 2000.