Melbourne's household water bills are set to soar by an average of 34 per cent next financial year.
City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water have proposed the price hikes as part of their five year plans which start in July next year.
Each has flagged large increases next year, to cover the cost of the Wonthaggi desalination plant.
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These will be followed by smaller, inflation-based increases for the remaining four years.
The proposal would lift the average water bill by nearly $300 in the first year.
City West Water's Anne Barker says retailers are playing catch up, after price increases were frozen this financial year to compensate customers incorrectly charged for the desalination plant before it was finished.
"What we are trying to do is to match our costs and our prices and our costs spike in that first year, and so that's why we're proposing such a large increase," she said.
The charges are yet to be approved by Victoria's Essential Services Commission.
Water a big pressure point
An analysis of Bureau of Statistics data earlier this month found water and sewerage rates were the biggest price pressure point, more than doubling (up by 111 per cent).
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This was attributed to on-passing of costs associated with "drought proofing" of water supplies, including the cost of building desalination plants in Melbourne and Sydney and connecting dam systems in southeast Queensland.A report published on October 8 also revealed more and more Sydney Water customers will be ripped off by faulty water meter readings – after the O'Farrell Government slashed funding for the program that replaces broken meters by 18 per cent.
(With inputs from Yahoo!7)
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