SACOSS welcomed today’s release of ESCOSA’s Draft Decision in relation to SA Water’s proposed plan for delivering water and sewerage services to customers from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024, noting that if implemented, it was almost certain to drive water prices down even further than had been projected in ‘Our Plan 2020’.
Ross Womersley, CEO of the SA Council of Social Service, said:
“SACOSS together with a number of other community Groups raised a number of issues about the merits of SA Water’s “Our Plan 2020” and we are very pleased to see the importance ESCOSA has placed on these in developing its draft determination.
“SACOSS specifically raised concerns about some selected capital spending projects which we felt may not be justified or could be deferred, and also suggested SA Water’s proposed operating expenditure, could benefit from an efficiency dividend reflecting gradual improvements in delivery.
“Thus we welcome the position taken by ESCOSA on capital spending. SA Water relied heavily on willingness to pay surveys and SACOSS argued that these should not be given undue weight in determining whether to accept particular capital projects.
“SACOSS further considered that SA Water’s proposed variations from ESCOSA guidance on the rate of return factors should be rejected and while ESCOSA may be proposing some minor adjustments to the formulae, we are pleased to see that the regulator continues to recognise the lower cost of finance in the current context and that savings should flow to customers as a result.
“SACOSS wants to acknowledge that ESCOSA and SA Water have both invested heavily in strengthening the voice of customers throughout development of this proposal. Furthermore, it’s now clear that this has been helpful in driving SA Water more rigorously towards delivering drinking water and sewerage services at the quality and reliability levels that South Australians value, for the lowest sustainable long-term cost to them.”
Titled ‘Our Plan 2020’, it sets out proposed customer service standards, revenues and indicative prices for drinking water and sewerage services for the next four years.