The number of SA Water customers struggling to pay their water bills is on the rise, with more customers going onto the hardship program each month than are coming off it.
In evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee this week, SA Water officials said approximately 3,000 customers were currently on the program, with a total outstanding debt of $4.4 million, at an average of just under $1,500 per customer:
Mr HOLLAMBY: On average, each month, about 235 new customers enter the program and 173 customers successfully complete the program.
– Budget and Finance Committee, 3/05/2017
“South Australian households are being smashed by skyrocketing water bills, with many going into debt and having to enter these hardship programs just to stay afloat,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Under the Labor Government average household water bills have risen by about $550 or 233 per cent.
“Clearly more customers are going onto the hardship program each month than are actually coming off, so the problem is getting worse for people, with no relief in sight from the Weatherill Labor Government.
“The SA Water CEO Mr Cheroux confirmed that in terms of national performance, on water bill cost per 200 kilolitres, SA Water’s ranking classification was 11, with one being the best and 15 the worst.
“Minister Hunter needs to explain why he’s allowing households to be smashed by high water bills and why month on month more people are having to go onto the hardship program.”