Developing our Pricing Submission 2023-28

We're planning for our future and asking our customers to think water and beyond to help shape our future services, projects, priorities and pricing. As well as delivering excellent urban water and wastewater services, we want to help contribute to liveable and prosperous communities.

Every five years, we are required to submit a plan to the Essential Services Commission that outlines our proposed prices, service levels, projects and infrastructure investments. We also review and update our Urban Water Strategy, a key planning document that helps ensure our services can meet needs now and into the future. But we need your help to understand the values and priorities of our customers, so we can weave your feedback into our plans and shape future services and pricing.

We've heard from more than 3,000 people during the past year - through surveys, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, at volunteer group meetings and at pop-up water cafes. Your input has been really important in helping us understand customer and community priorities and expectations, so that we can build a pricing submission that reflects community desires and needs and sees us continue to deliver quality services.


How we're going

In early May, we wrapped up our 6-part deliberative forum with our customer panel. We asked 40 customers to spend more than 25 hours with us over several weeks, deep diving into three key topics. The recommendations they made - based on findings throughout our previous stages of engagement - form part of our pricing submission.

We'll also check in with our ongoing customer group at our Annual Performance Forum sessions in May and July to 

Next, we'll check in with people who

You can find more information from each of our previous pricing submission stages below.

A snapshot of what our customers have told us:

"I would like you to promote drinking town water rather than the public buying bottled water. Research seems to suggest town water is better. We do not need plastic bottles littering our streets. I think how many plastic bottles would be used in 12 months if an individual drank only bottled water!"

"It would be good to have recycled water reticulated through the town so that gardens can use lower quality water."

"Solar powering of the processing of water is already of great benefit."

"Keep up the great work that they are doing now."

"I think everyone should play a part in looking after the region and making it better. We all need to deal with climate change but we also need to look after people who are in trouble & need support."

"I expect Goulburn Valley Water to supply water of good quality and as we are a country of regular droughts, to impose restrictions where necessary."

"[I expect] Good drinking water and plenty of it."

"[I expect] Clean water, good pressure and personalised customer service."

What's been happening so far?

Phase 1

We began with conversations with our staff to understand what they think is important - after all, most of them are GVW customers as well! We've used their feedback to help inform early planning for the business as well as our pricing submission.

Between March and July, we engaged widely with our communities to understand people's broad values and opinions about future services and pricing. Where we could, we met with people face-to-face depending on restrictions or lockdowns, as well as inviting people to take a survey online, via a physical postcard we dropped at cafes and businesses in each town, or via a QR code on water bottles at cafes across our service area, or via an SMS link. We recieved a fantastic response - so thank you to those who shared their thoughts.

Phase 2

We've now analysed the feedback to give us some key topics to delve into further with our communities as part of our second phase of engagement. We asked people to share their preferences for additional investment on six topics identified through our first stage of engagement, such as regional leadership, carbon abatement options, support for vulnerable customers and investment in digital technologies, via our bill-a-bill tool. It showed how selecting different levels of investment impacted on bills for customer groups over one year and for the full five-year pricing period. Not all aspects of our pricing submission were represented in the tool - just a couple we are keen to know more about.

Phase 3

We'll further explore some key topics identified through the previous stage's build-a-bill process. We'll bring together a group of diverse customers that are representative of our customer base and ask them to deliberate on several themes carefully and in detail over a number of sessions, spread out over a couple of weeks. These will explore bill impacts of different levels of service and projects, and we'll be asking customers to provide advice on some decisions for our draft pricing submission, based on their deliberations.

Phase 4

We'll feed outcomes and customer feedback from the deliberative forum into our draft Pricing Submission, which we'll be developing in the first half of 2022. We'll release a draft for public consultation in mid year, before we finalise our submission to send it to our regulator, the Essential Services Commission in spring. They'll analyse it and also consult further with customers on our draft plan and their recommendations. The subsequent Price Plan 2023-28 will come into effect on July 1, 2023.


A snapshot of our first stage engagement

Frequently asked questions

How can I provide feedback?

There's a range of ways you can have a say - whatever works best for you. We have an online survey available, as well as postcards where you can write on them and send them back - no stamp required! 

Where we can do so safely, we will also be visiting towns with our mini popup water cafes where you can come and have a chat to us in person - we'll advertise these on our website, our social media channels and in newspapers and on the radio where possible.

We're also more than happy to come to you! If you're hosting an event, a group meeting (for example, Rotary or Lions) or other community catch up, let us know by sending us an email with the details (time, date, location) of the meeting and about how many people you're expecting. You can also just send us an email at the link above telling us your thoughts, or send us a message on any of our social media channels!

We'll also have ways for you to have your say - keep an eye on this page for more information!

Will my contributions be anonymous?

We only collect enough data to help us make informed decisions based on your responses. This only includes the town you live in and your age and gender - anything else is optional. All data is collected and stored in line with our Privacy Policy.

If you'd like, you can also provide an email address or phone number and we can keep you up to date on our engagement processes and outcomes. 

Will I be able to see a draft of the pricing submission?

Yes - once we've finished our in-depth engagement with our customers and communities early next year, we'll be developing our draft pricing submission for 2023-28. We'll make that available for people to read and comment on in late 2022, ahead of our submission to our independent regulator, the Essential Services Commission, in early 2023.