Lew Owens to head independent SA Water Pricing Inquiry

The State Government has appointed a former regulator and respected corporate leader Lew Owens to conduct its Independent Inquiry into Water Pricing in South Australia.

The Inquiry – which delivers on a key 100-day election commitment – has been established to investigate the complex methodology used to determine SA Water’s bills to help ensure families and businesses are paying a fair price for their water.

“We are pleased to appoint Mr Owens to this new and important role which will provide valuable independent advice to Government on the complex methodology used to determine what South Australians pay every time they turn on the tap,’’ said Treasurer Rob Lucas.

“Mr Owens has considerable experience in this space over many years, as a regulator and corporate leader, and we look forward to him hitting the ground running.

“The Marshall Government will do what we can to ease cost-of-living pressures for all South Australians, that’s why we’re slashing ESL bills and announced payroll tax cuts for all small businesses, and this is yet another example of that commitment.”

Mr Owens is a former CEO of ETSA Utilities and Chairman of the Essential Services Commission of SA, the independent economic regulator charged with protecting consumers over the price, quality and reliability of essential services such as water, electricity and gas.

He is also a former Chair of the board of SA Water.

The Inquiry into Water Pricing in South Australia is due to report back to Government around July next year.

Within its framework, it will look into SA Water’s starting regulated asset base value, the methodology used to determine SA Water’s weighted average cost of capital among other factors affecting price to consumers.

Average household water bills have risen from $236 in 2001-02 to an estimated $782 in 2017-18 – an increase of 232 percent.

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