SA Water must re-read all water meters where there is a doubt as to the accuracy of the most recent bill and reimburse any customers who have been overcharged.
“With as many as 15,000 households potentially paying more for their water than they should, SA Water must act now,” said Shadow Minister for Water and the River Murray Michelle Lensink.
“If SA Water has overcharged its customers it needs to reimburse those customers now - not in three months’ time.
“SA Water’s profit before tax in 2012-13 of $362 million – it has ample cash reserves to cover this additional expense.
“For once SA Water needs to put its customers before its bottom line.
“There are too many people already having difficulty paying their water bills.”
The total number of SA Water hardship customers (customers unable to pay their accounts due to financial difficulties) increased
from 1,445 in January 2012 to 3,618 by June 2013 – an increase of 150 per cent since the beginning of 2012. From 2011-12 to 2012-13 alone, the typical South Australian residential water bill rose by 31 per cent.
- In 2012-13, SA Water’s net profit after tax ratio is one of the highest of the capital city water utilities;
- SA Water’s customers experienced more sewer main and property connection breaks and chokes than comparable Australian water utilities; and,
- SA Water’s customers experienced slightly more and longer water supply interruptions than the average of comparable Australian water utilities.
“SA Water needs to begin rectifying its mistake immediately,” said Ms Lensink.