Background

Managing water utilities is an increasingly complex task. Evolving customer needs and community expectations, ageing assets, new technologies, climate change and variability in supply are just some of the challenges faced by the industry. Water utilities are now also expected to play a role in driving economic, social and environmental outcomes in addition to providing water related services.

Aither’s team is passionate about making a difference. We help utilities, governments and regulators navigate these challenges. Our clients benefit from our mix of strategy, economics and policy skills, our deep understanding of the water industry across the country, and our commitment to excellence in all aspects of the services we provide.

Subservices

  • Strategy development Reviewing, preparing or guiding the development of key business strategies to ensure organisational outcomes are realised
  • Economic appraisal application of appraisal methods such as cost benefit analysis to help inform investment decisions and ensure the best option is identified
  • Pricing and economic regulation Providing practical advice on complex pricing and economic regulation issues facing the water industry
  • Commercial advice through understanding our clients’ needs, we are able to provide strategic and useable advice to help inform commercial decisions
  • Business cases preparation delivering compelling, evidence-based business cases that are consistent with relevant guidelines and underpinned by sound economic appraisal
  • Monitoring + evaluation frameworks applying program logic and performance management frameworks to support strategy development, business cases or investment review

Selected Project Experience

Policy advice to Infrastructure Australia (2017)

Aither was engaged by Infrastructure Australia (IA) Strategic advisor role; the outputs of which formed a major contribution to IA’s call for further urban water reform.

Aither developed a best practice pricing framework for improving pricing in the urban water sector. Our review articulated the objectives and desired outcomes for urban water pricing and including a detailed framework which defined best practice water pricing.

WaterNSW expenditure pricing reviews (2015 and 2017)

Aither was engaged by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to undertake two separate reviews of WaterNSW’s expenditure for both its rural bulk water and Greater Sydney areas.

For both reviews, Aither conducted a strategic review of long-term investment plans and asset management systems, detailed review of WaterNSW’s past and proposed operating expenditures and capital expenditures, review of performance against output measures and proposed new output measures, and an assessment of the feasibility, costs and benefits of possible alternative approaches or methodologies for future expenditure reviews.

Review of bulk water pricing in Queensland (2017)

SunWater engaged Aither to provide advice on pricing reform options across their bulk water and distribution systems which service irrigation, urban, industrial and mining customers.

Aither identified best practice principles for pricing and economic regulation to recommend a long-term, sustainable water pricing reform framework that is transparent, consistent with the National Water Initiative and could be applied consistently across SunWater’s customer groups.

Investigation into potential tariff and pricing reform for Southern Rural Water (2017)

Southern Rural Water (SRW) engaged Aither to investigate potential opportunities and implications for reform of its existing tariff structure.

Aither worked closely with key SRW staff to identify a number of immediate and longer-term opportunities for improvement of the organisation’s tariff regime including reform of outlet tariffs to better reflect SRW’s services and the provision of modern outlets.

PREMO Attestation Advice for the Yarra Valley Water Board (2017)

The Essential Services Commission’s PREMO framework requires the Board of the water business to provide attestation as to the accuracy of the information provided in the Price Submission.

Aither was involved in verifying the internal sign-off and governance processes were sufficiently robust, reviewed and provided advice on appropriateness of assumptions and data used in the Price Submission inputs for the Information Template. As a result of the detailed approach, several key assumptions and major projects were revised prior to Board approval.

Provided assistance to IPART for its review of performance indicators (2018)

IPART undertook a review of its performance indicators for public water utilities and WICA utilities.

Aither provided considerable assistance to IPART in delivering its Issues Paper for the commencement of its review. The project required the consideration of all performance indicators, resulting in a key focus on customer satisfaction indicators that have been developed in other jurisdictions.