The Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has released draft Water Service Pricing Regulations for public consultation.


Ms Giddings said the draft regulations provide details about how residents and businesses will be billed for water and sewerage services under a two-part pricing model.


“This is the next step in progressing water and sewerage reform to ensure water services are provided sustainably to the Tasmanian community now and in the future,” Ms Giddings said.


“These regulations propose increased transparency around price setting and would also provide further protection for consumers from price shocks, particularly those on low incomes.


“Under the new regulations the Regulator must take into account the impact of any increase in price on different classes of customers."


Ms Giddings said while the regulations provide details of the methodology that could be used for billing, the actual charges for water under a two-part pricing model are yet to be determined by the Economic Regulator. 


“I am aware that people want to know how much they will have to pay under two-part pricing but this is about getting the framework right first.


“Two-part pricing is due to come into effect from June 2012 and the corporations and the regulator will be required to release detailed information on pricing well before that time.”


Ms Giddings said she had written to the Regulator asking him to release the latest advice on the Interim Pricing Order.


“The advice acknowledges the need to continue to invest in infrastructure and the gradual move to cost recovery. However we all acknowledge that this will need to occur over time and in a way that avoids price shocks, particularly for disadvantaged Tasmanians.


“I support the public comments made in relation to the Corporations taking a longer term view to their capital requirements which may contribute to lower price increases for consumers.


“I expect to hear back from the Regulator shortly and it is my expectation that his full report will be released publicly.”


Ms Giddings also acknowledged the release of the Regulator’s State of the Industry Report.


“The report frankly outlines the historic under investment in water and sewerage infrastructure that prompted the State Government to embark on the difficult but necessary path of reform.


The Water Pricing Regulations will be out for public consultation until the 25th of March 2011, and are available on the Department of Treasury and Finance website