A Benalla family is astounded at their water bill service charges being about 20 times more than their usage costs.By Meg Pigram
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.
Nicki McLennan is showing her sister Taylah the ultimate Christmas generosity - a stem cell transplant to help Taylah's ongoing cancer battle.
After a tennis career spanning 62 years, of which the last 35 years have been as a coach, Yarrawonga's Jon Coleman is set to retire at the end of 2013.
The recent Kyabram Master Pairs, played over six days with crack sides from near and far, attracted some talented bowlers eager to win the prestige event.
The murder trial of Echuca woman Tracey Kerr has been adjourned until next year.
Three Goornong Fire Brigade firefighters recently completed a CFA course on safety surrounding urban firefighting and using breathing apparatuses.
Kyabram Lawn Tennis Club’s annual junior singles tournament again attracted good numbers from across the district.
But have opponents given up the fight?
Tocumwal Pre-School students are proudly flying their KITE at the Tocumwal Lions Community Hostel.
Tooborac Fire Brigade visited Tooborac Primary School last Tuesday to help the school complete its bushfire emergency management plan.
Residents urged to renew fruit fly baits to support local orchards.
A Korean company has a proposal with the NSW Government to built a $90 million ethanol plant in Deniliquin.
SPC Ardmona, is sending eight containers loaded with $250,000 of fruit and vegetables to cyclone ravaged Philippines.
The hunt is on for a buyer for Benalla and Mansfield Toyota after the business went into receivership last fortnight.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.