We consistently hear from our customers that reliable service delivery in the face of climate change, ageing assets and population growth is important.
That’s why we’re planning for the future, while ensuring our prices remain fair for customers today. Now in year one of our next five-year pricing period (2023-2028), our prices will ensure the ongoing delivery of safe drinking water, recycled water, rural water and sewage services.
Our prices will support an extensive program of planned upgrades and infrastructure renewal, as well as customer, community and environmental support programs.
Determining what you pay for your water and sewerage services requires careful planning.
Our five-year Price Submission 2023-2028 explains our charges, service levels and works programs. Our customers helped to shape our plans and prices for the current five year period through an 18-month community engagement program.
Our Price Submission was then reviewed and approved by the Essential Services Commission, the independent Victorian water sector regulator.
As a 100% customer-funded business, it's an important process to get right. It ensures our customers are actively involved in shaping our plans for the future, and that our service standards and proposed prices are fair for everyone.
Learn more about the extensive PS23 process and read our submission at Connect Coliban.
Prices will increase incrementally over the next five years.
While our prices have been steady or declining over recent years, significant intergenerational investment is now required as our region is at a critical point in its water supply and demand.
Ageing assets require upgrading and renewal to meet the needs of our growing population and investment is required to safeguard our water supply as we navigate a rapidly changing environment.
The modest increase to our fees and charges for the 2023/24 financial year will help us meet these challenges.
Customers will see a lower price increase (above inflation) in the first year, than in subsequent years. We hope this will reduce the burden on customers where possible, while inflation remains high.
For the average household, this results in bill increase of approximately $2.11 per week, which includes inflation.
For additional information regarding non-standard New Customer Contributions (NCCs) applicable to connecting to Coliban Water’s sewer network by pressure sewer please refer to our Connect to Sewerage page.
We have a range of tools and examples to help you understand your bills here.
Please phone our Customer Support Team during business hours on 1300 363 200.
We have heard from customers that protecting the most vulnerable members of our community is important, in an environment of high interest rates, high inflation and a high cost of living.
Our Coliban Assist program is the cornerstone of our customer support function.
We have doubled our financial support for Coliban Assist to $570,000 per year, to ensure that customers experiencing vulnerability will be supported.
Our Customer Support Team is trained to provide confidential advice, support or referral to other services.
If you are experiencing short or long-term payment concerns we encourage you to speak with our team to discuss your options. Contact us here.
The Department of Health and other agencies offer a variety of concessions and benefits to eligible cardholders to assist low-income Victorians with water and sewerage bills.
Customers with an eligible card can apply for a concession by completing our Apply for a Concession online form or by contacting us directly for assistance.
For more information visit our Coliban Assist page.
As a 100% customer funded organisation, it’s important that our customers can see and understand how we put the money from their water bills to work.
From every $100 paid by our customers, about $45 will be spent on water and sewer services over the next five years. This includes our Big Water Build, a five-year program of time-critical infrastructure upgrades and renewals that will underpin our region’s prosperity and help us to address the challenges we face.
Another $30 is spent on maintaining our ‘hidden network’ of water and sewer mains.
The remainder is split between environmental protection, maintenance of our three major reservoirs near Kyneton, customer service functions and corporate costs associated with running an office.
Visit here for a visual representation of what your bill pays for.
What allows Coliban Water to change customer prices?
Every five years, the Victorian water industry regulator, the Essential Services Commission (ESC), reviews fees and charges for Coliban Water to ensure pricing, service levels and work programs are justified, and costs and charges are fair. This year, 2023, we have entered a new pricing period. This runs from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2028. The prices that were applied from 1 July 2023 have been endorsed by the ESC.
Have fees and charges changed in 2023/24?
Yes. The prices for 2023/24 are the first year of our current pricing plan for 2023 to 2028. Our prices will increase in a phased approach during this period, to ensure the ongoing delivery of our core business. This is to provide safe drinking water, recycled water, rural water and sewage services for public health and the environment, so that our communities can sustain themselves.
Our prices have been steady or declining over recent years, and our region is now at a critical point in its water supply and demand. As we enter a period of growth, significant intergenerational investment is required, which also coincides with changes to our fees and charges for the 2023/24 financial year.
Customers will see a lower price increase (above inflation) in the first year, than in subsequent years. We hope this will reduce the burden on customers where possible, while inflation remains high. For the average household, this results in bill increase of approximately $2.11 per week, which includes inflation.
Is there any extra support for flood-affected customers?
Yes. We know that some customers who were impacted by the floods last year are far from living back to normal. We have approximately $180,000 available in additional support for these customers. This will be automatically applied to bills for property owners who received the $600 flood relief payment from Coliban Water last year.
What is the purpose of this extra payment?
This payment is focused on property owners in flood-impacted areas to provide an extra level of support and help for those facing long-term impacts. Whilst our short term focus after the floods included tenants and was about restoration of water and sewer services, we are aware that many of our affected customers are continuing to navigate a rebuild process and are yet to move back into their properties.
What other fees and charges have changed this year?
We’re making some changes to the way we manage trade waste, to better represent our business customers with trade waste agreements in place, and to help us better protect our assets. This means the introduction of a new ‘medium’ trade waste category, in addition to minor and major categories. Customers in the medium category will receive notification of this change, which may include wastewater quality monitoring.
Non-compliance fees for trade waste customers have been introduced, for those who are not meeting their obligations set out in trade waste agreements.
Guaranteed Service Levels (GSLs)
We have changed the payment for some of our GSLs (Guaranteed Service Levels) to keep pace with inflation. Please see here for more information on what has changed this year.
GSLs are payments that Coliban Water will make in the event it does not meet a particular ‘guaranteed’ level of service performance. Most GSLs are paid to a customer experiencing a poor level of service, however some GSLs are for poor service affecting many customers or an entire service region – and these fall into the community GSL category.
New Customer Contributions (NCCs)
We’ve made some changes to New Customer Contributions (NCCs). This is a fee that connection applicants, such as developers, pay Coliban Water when a new property applies to have services available.
Significant development is currently occurring in the north (Huntly), east (Strathfieldsaye) and west (Maiden Gully and Marong) of Bendigo. As this development in our region continues to expand and radiate outwards, we incur capital costs to upsize our networks, and upgrade storage and treatment facilities to meet demand.
We have increased the level of NCCs for developers. As development continues, it becomes more unsustainable to pass these costs onto existing customers. Please refer to our Schedule of Fees and Charges 2023-24 for latest NCC charges.
Where can I find the fees and charges for 2023/24?
The new Schedule of Fees and Charges is available here.
Customers can also find a residential pricing estimator available online, or can phone our friendly Customer Support Team on 1300 363 200.
Why are customer fees and charges changing?
Our fees and charges are set to recover the costs of providing water and sewer services, including investment in infrastructure to provide services at the standards our customers expect and value.
What is my money spent on?
As a 100 per cent customer-funded organisation, it’s important that our customers understand how we are putting their bills to work.
Of every $100, about $45 is spent on water and sewer services – this relates to the 16 water treatment and 14 water reclamation plants that we operate. We’re embarking on our Big Water Build capital program, which is a five-year program of time-critical infrastructure upgrades and renewals to underpin our region’s prosperity and help us address the challenges we face.
Almost $30 is spent on maintaining our ‘hidden network’ of water and sewer mains whilst the remainder is split between environmental protection, maintenance of our three major reservoirs near Kyneton, customer service functions and corporate costs associated with running an office.
Why is so much of the bill made up of fixed charges?
There are three components to a customer’s residential bill – water fixed charges, water variable charge and sewer fixed charge.
The water variable charge is a single price per kilolitre of water used. This component of a bill will vary depending on the amount of water the customer uses.
The water and sewer fixed charges are the costs we associate with operating and maintaining water and sewer treatment and delivery infrastructure.
The cost of maintaining our treatment plants, pipes and reservoirs is high and we recover this cost through the fixed component of customer bills. These costs are incurred across our entire network. That is why all customers contribute the same amount (pay the same fixed cost), regardless of usage.
I hardly send anything down the drain – what is the sewer price for?
The sewer fixed charges are the costs we associate with operating and maintaining water and sewer treatment and delivery infrastructure. These charges are calculated on a daily basis.
I am a rural customer, what do these price changes mean for me?
The new rural charges in 2023-24 will increase by less than inflation, with most charges increasing by 5.7 per cent, compared to the 2022-23 charges.
This will help fund a variety of water security projects and improve operations within the rural network. We will continue the planning for the development of a full business case for rural modernisation, with more detail available on this later this year.
Rural fees and charges can be viewed here.
Is there a change to pricing for tenants?
For the average household, this results in bill increase of approximately $2.11 per week, which includes inflation.
What if I am having difficulty paying my account?
We offer a range of support measures for customers facing payment difficulties. Customers experiencing short or long-term concerns are encouraged to speak with our friendly Customer Support Team on 1300 363 200 during business hours.
As part of our Price Submission 2023-28, we are focused on protecting the most vulnerable members of our community. That’s why we've doubled our financial support via the Coliban Assist hardship program to $570,000 per year, to ensure that any customer experiencing vulnerability will be supported.
What is Coliban Assist?
Coliban Assist encompasses a range of support measures which includes Plumber Assist, leak detection, utility relief grants, concessions, bill smoothing and payment matching. We have expanded the current program to help more customers within our community.
This includes an expansion of the Plumber Assist program as well as improvements to our leak detection work. We’ll also be improving our bill smoothing work by encouraging all concession card holders to use this program.
Payment matching is a new part of Coliban Assist this year, which will expand the eligibility to non-concession card holders and small businesses where appropriate.
Are customers with a concession card eligible for a discount?
The Department of Health and other agencies offer a variety of concessions and benefits to eligible cardholders. These can assist customers on low incomes with water and sewerage bills.
Customers with a concession card may be eligible for a concession and can apply by completing our Apply for a Concession online form or contact us for assistance.
Calculate your usage
Use our online Pricing Estimator tool to get an idea of your yearly usage costs.