Water retailers are preparing a shake-up in the way Melburnians pay for water, with customers to be offered options such as ''environmentally friendly'' or ''unrestricted'' supply plans.
The pricing options are being developed before the city's next water pricing period, and are designed to increase flexibility for customers in an era when prices will soar to pay for large water projects like desalination.
While prices vary across Melbourne's three retailers, all of them use the same ''block tariff'' price structure, where the cost of water rises when the customer's consumption exceeds certain volumes.
Retailers want to sell options to suit different customers, similar to the way customers can choose different electricity or mobile phone plans.
Melbourne's biggest retailer, Yarra Valley Water, has already started work on a range of water options for households and businesses, including:
The options would require approval by the Essential Services Commission, with Yarra Valley Water's manager of regulation, Brett Mathieson, saying the retailer is keen to see reform in the water pricing sector.