Mount Isa Water Board adds energy pricing to customers bills including Mount Isa Mines

Lake Moondarra which is part of the R48 Reserve of which the Mount Isa Water Board is trustee of. Photo: Chris Burns.

Lake Moondarra which is part of the R48 Reserve of which the Mount Isa Water Board is trustee of. Photo: Chris Burns.

MOUNT Isa Mines increased the cost of power that it supplies to the Mount Isa Water Board by more than 80 per cent – and this increase has returned to the mine, and the local ratepayer. 

The increase was added back to MIM’s water costs, to that of Incitec Pivot, and to that of the Mount Isa City Council.  

The Mount Isa Water Board’s chair Steven de Kruijff said the matter had now been resolved in “a timely resolution” between both companies. 

“Ultimately, our success as an organisation is completely tied to the success of our stakeholders – we in the North West will only succeed together,” Mr de Kruijff said.

Mount Isa Mines is a major customer of the Mount Isa Water Board and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure a secure and economical supply of water." - MIM spokeswoman

According to the Mount Isa Water Board’s 2016-17 annual report released earlier this week the board’s total operating expenses increased by 11.3 per cent. This was due to a “constructive liability with respect to disputed power charges.” 

Mount Isa Water Board chief executive Stephen Farrelly said the board did not agree to the mining company’s new pricing framework to increase the cost of supplied electricity. It added the cost back onto its customers. 

“MIWB only passes on the actual costs of the power it uses to deliver water and does not generate profits from doing so," Mr Farrelly said. 

“MIWB has not agreed to the new pricing model and have been discussing alternative pricing arrangements. However, MIM have made it clear they will be requiring payment.” 

The biggest raging issue in Australia at the moment is energy." - Mount Isa mayor Joyce McCulloch

A Mount Isa Mines spokeswoman said the company continued to work with stakeholders to investigate options for affordable, reliable and secure energy supply for the mine. 

“Mount Isa Mines is a major customer of the Mount Isa Water Board and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure a secure and economical supply of water.

“We are currently in commercial negotiations and it is not appropriate to comment on these details.” 

Mount Isa Mines has been charged $1.5 million more for water in the 2016-17 financial year than it had been charged the previous financial year. Mount Isa City Council has been charged $550,000 more, while Incitec Pivot was charged $40,000 more. 

Mayor Joyce McCulloch confirmed council did experience rising water costs due to energy issues.

“The biggest raging issue in Australia at the moment is energy. I know our energy bills in council have increased this year as well.” 

MIWB only passes on the actual costs of the power it uses to deliver water and does not generate profits from doing so." - Mount Isa Water Board's CEO

“One of our highest costs to ratepayers is our water and sewerage services so it is in our best interests to reduce our costs if we can.” 

The mayor was lobbying governments to find ways of reducing these costs, as well as looking at its own operations.

Mount Isa City Council acting CEO Sharon Ibardolaza could not confirm the figure council was charged or how ratepayers were impacted until the council figures were verified by external auditors. She understood the figure was “not too far off” but would not be certain until the end of October.

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