A Benalla family is astounded at their water bill service charges being about 20 times more than their usage costs.MEG PIGRAM November 12, 2012 4:48am
According to Pam and Ron Cook, their home is self-sufficient.
They have two rainwater tanks, use their food scraps for compost and have an automated system installed that pushes excess water from the tanks onto the gardens.
Yet they can’t understand the service charges on their water account from North East Water.
Their latest account received last month showed the Cooks had used $2.31 worth of water — that’s two cents per day.
Despite that $2.31 water usage fee, the couple is paying $48.58 in ‘service charges’.
‘‘It’s just ludicrous — we can’t let it pass up, we need to speak out about this,’’ Mr Cook said.
A frustrated Mr Cook took his concerns direct to North East Water where he claims he got ‘‘nothing much back’’.
‘‘They couldn’t explain it; I sent them a few emails and they basically told me that I just have to pay it,’’ he said.
‘‘There is nothing more Pam and I can do to save money — we are more conservative than most.’’
When the Ensign approached North East Water for a response, it wanted to know specific account details of the people in question, which the Ensign did not supply. The company then formulated a generic response.
‘‘North East Water, in response to this tariff concerned, have over the last five years revised its tariff structure from 33 per cent of operating revenue, coming from variable (volumetric) charges, to 66 per cent,’’ corporate services executive manager Anthony Herman said.
‘‘This has resulted in North East Water charging some of the lowest fixed service fees in regional Victoria.’’
But even that doesn’t sit well with Mr Cook, who said he feels North East Water charges the fees it does because people can’t shop around.
‘‘When it comes to electricity and gas, you have alternate options, you can look for a better deal, but when it concerns your water usage, you have nothing — except North East Water,’’Mr Cook said.
His response to fixing the problem lies with offering customers a rebate for those who are conservative.
‘‘Reduce the service charge for those who don’t use huge amounts of water — it is absolutely ludicrous that we are paying the same amount as someone who doesn’t have tanks at their home,’’ he said.
Mr Herman said North East Water’s pricing submission for the next five years, 2013-14 to 2017-18, was being considered by the Essential Services Commission.
‘‘The Commission would welcome any customer feedback at their information session to be conducted in Wodonga on Monday, November 12, or through written submissions on such issues,’’ he said.
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Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
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A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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