Coliban Water’s Bridge Street headquarters.

COLIBAN Water is proposing to reduce water prices over the next five years, but the Essential Services Commission wants household and business water bills to be even lower.

Ahead of setting water prices for the next five years, the commission reviewed Coliban’s outlook for operating and capital expenditure.

It watered down Coliban’s esimated revenue requirement by three per cent, or $18 million.

The commission wants the impact to flow straight through to consumers’ bills, and that could mean a saving of $21 a year over the next years for the average customer, rather than a saving of $13 a year as proposed by Coliban.

But the ESC’s report is a draft response to Coliban’s submission and the latter will be able to respond ahead of a final decision to come into effect on July 1.

“We will assess the detail in the ESC’s draft decision to ensure customer outcomes are in line with what customers told us through the engagement process,” said Coliban on its website.

Its estimate of a $13 saving was based on an estimated annual water bill in 2018-19 of $1339 for a resident owner occupier.

It is based on average usage of 188 kilolitres a year.

Coliban forecast it would need $338 million of operating expenditure and $197 million of capital expenditure over the next five years.

Major works it has planned include duplicating and upsizing the mains network in the western Bendigo region, constructing a new water main to Strathfieldsaye and upgrades to the Bendigo water reclamation plant.