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Price submission and performance

The Essential Services Commission has approved our Price Submission, covering a five year period from July 2018 to June 2023.

The outcomes in this plan reflect our focus on finding cost savings and new revenue, allowing us to invest more than $65m to deliver service improvements through modernisation of our business, while keeping prices affordable for customers and ensuring our own financial sustainability.

Most customers will see prices remaining stable or reducing slightly:

  • unregulated groundwater and rivers customers will see an annual price reduction of 2.3% before inflation.
  • prices in Macalister and Werribee Irrigation districts will remain stable, rising only with CPI.
  • after a period of reduced prices in the BMID, customers will see a slight increase of 1.7% (before inflation) to manage the contribution towards modernisation of the district.

We have also restructured our tariffs, simplifying and reducing many charges

Southern Rural Water’s five-year 2018 Price Submission

What is a price submission?
The 2018 Price Submission was our proposal to the Essential Services Commission in relation to price and service for the period 2018-2023. After assessing our Price Submission, the Essential Services Commission has made a determination which specifies the process for setting prices over the next five years. This includes a limit on the total revenue we can raise over the period.
Our engagement process
The ESC praised our strong relationships with customers. Our ongoing engagement with customers includes:
  • Customer Consultative Committees (CCCs)
  • strong relationships between our field staff and customers
  • a dedicated Customer First team reviewing the ways we provide service
  • regular Board meetings with customers and visits to their businesses
  • focused engagement for all major projects
  • detailed customer surveys every two years
  • short transactional customer surveys and feedback
  • regular newsletters, website and social media updates.
All of this engagement is shaping our strategic direction and planning through to 2030, including many elements of this Price Submission. Additional engagement specific to this submission included discussions with many customers we don’t often hear from as well a series of workshops and focus groups across our region to maximise the opportunity for customers to participate. We asked what is most important to you what service improvements we should deliver over the next few years. We also asked for customers’ views and questions on all aspects of our service delivery and water management. We thank everyone who contributed, making our proposal a document that reflects the priorities of our customers.
What is important to you?
You told us what matters most to you as water users and customers of SRW. These became our “customer outcome” goals which are: SRW provides great customer service
  • Customers can access SRW’s services and information in the manner they prefer (whether online, face-to-face or over the phone)
  • SRW responds to customer queries and processes applications promptly,
SRW’s water supply system enables good practice irrigation
  • SRW’s irrigation district infrastructure provides improved service levels, is efficient and reliable
SRW manages water resources well, maintaining a good balance between my needs as a water user and the sustainability of the resource
  • SRW is committed to resource management that maximises the water available for consumptive use while ensuring overall sustainability.
SRW works with me to manage my water needs and entitlements
  • SRW is committed to helping customers to meet their business goals in a variable and changing climate.
SRW keeps prices as low as possible SRW is committed to modernising our whole business with minimal price increases.
Our results for 2018-19

Our 2018 Price Submission established five customer outcomes and measures that reflect the views, concerns and priorities of our customers.

We have repeatedly heard that customer service, affordability, water security and water quality are of greatest importance.

Given the very different nature of water security and influences on water quality in our different systems, we have refined the measures to reflect those differences. Also, given the diverse and changing demographics of our customers, we are focused on offering service in the way that best suits individual customer groups, while keeping prices as low as possible.

2018-19 Results:

We have met or exceeded targets for 16 out of 20 indicators, and within 2% of target for a further two indicators.

Many of our measures vary only by exception, and we’ve had no failures this year affecting irrigation deliveries or releases from our dams.

Outcome 1: SRW provides great customer service

Output Target 2018-19
Applications completed within set timeframes* 90% 88.4%

 

While we didn’t quite meet our target for processing applications within agreed timeframes, our result was within 2% of the target. This has been an excellent result by our application processing team, who dealt with a 25% increase in the volume of applications, compared with the prior year.

Outcome 2: SRW's water supply system enables good practice irrigation

  • SRW’s irrigation district infrastructure provides improved service levels, is efficient and reliable
Output Target 2018-19
Delivery volume accuracy (WID) – Deliveries are >90% of order volume or within 0.1 megalitre (ML) 98% 98%
Delivery volume accuracy (BMID) – Deliveries are >90% of order volume or within 0.1 megalitre (ML) 98% 97%
Channel pool performance (MID) – Pool levels are within specified ranges. 78% 69%
Delivery efficiency (MID) – Water released into the system that is actually delivered to customers. 80% 80%
Delivery efficiency (WID) – Water released into the system that is actually delivered to customers. 70% 71%
Delivery efficiency (BMID) – Water released into the system that is actually delivered to customers. 70% 71%
Customers with access to the Demand Management System (MID) 40% 61%
Delivery reliability (MID) – Orders unaffected by unplanned interruptions 99% 100%
Delivery reliability (WID) – Orders unaffected by unplanned interruptions. 99% 100%
Delivery reliability (BMID) – Orders unaffected by unplanned interruptions. 99% 100%

We met or exceeded 8 out of our 10 measures, with only a minor variance in one of the remaining measures.

Our target for channel pool performance for the Macalister Irrigation District is proving to be challenging. This is a new measure, and we set our targets without the benefit of historic performance information. The recent season produced perfect growing conditions for weeds, which affected our ability to maintain channel pool heights within the tight tolerances that we defined for this measure. This is despite additional maintenance effort that we applied through the season. Importantly, customer orders were not delayed or reduced due to this result. We will continue to explore other options to improve the consistency of pool levels.

Outcome 3: SRW manages water resources well, maintaining a good balance between my needs as a water user and the sustainability of the resource

  • SRW is committed to resource management that maximises the water available for consumptive use while ensuring overall sustainability.
Output Target 2018-19
Water is harvested at the maximum possible rate for Pykes Creek and Merrimu storages (when dam capacity is available) % of time 95% 97%
Salinity of recycled water delivered (WID)
Electrical conductivity (µS/cm)
<1800 <1800
Headworks release within 10% or 5 megalitres of ordered flow (Werribee system) % of time 95% 99%
Headworks release within 10% or 1 megalitre of ordered flow (Maribyrnong system) % of time 95% 98%
Headworks release within 10% of ordered flow (Latrobe system) % of time 95% 100%

We met or exceeded all of our targets in this area.

Outcome 4: SRW works with me to manage my water needs and entitlements

  • SRW is committed to helping customers to meet their business goals in a variable and changing climate.
Output Target 2018-19
Customer contacts to promote water trading 1000 1015
Release of additional water entitlements - WID 0 0
Release of additional water entitlements - BMID 0 0
Release of additional water entitlements - MID 800 742

A stronger focus on ensuring that our field staff continue to promote and raise awareness of water trading opportunities has seen a large increase in our recorded number of contacts. Through our applications processing, we have seen an increase in the number of water trades taking place during 2018-19.

Our targets for release of additional water entitlements are based on capturing savings through our irrigation modernisation projects, and making these available to customers. During 2018-19, we have made all remaining previously validated water savings available to market in the Macalister Irrigation District, which amounted to 742ML. This total comprised 214ML sold as allocation for the season, and 528ML of validated savings sold as new high and low reliability water shares. Future releases of water entitlements will rely on validation of further savings, and we are working with DELWP on this.

We also sold 205ML of high reliability water shares in the Werribee system, which had previously been associated with a “supply by agreement”. While this was not technically new entitlement, it nonetheless has been made available for productive use, which benefits customers.

Our prices

Our prices for 2018-19 are consistent with the indicative price paths from our 2018 Price Submission. We set prices annually to reflect our operating and capital budgets, within the constraints of our total revenue requirement.

You can find the 2018-19 Tariff Schedule online.

Click here for 2018 Price Submission.