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Water and sewage price shock expected in many Norwegian municipalities

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Water and sewage price shock expected in many Norwegian municipalities
Some of Norway’s biggest cities plan to increase water and sewage fees next year. Photo by Taichi Nakamura / Unsplash

The municipal fees for water and sewage will increase significantly in many Norwegian municipalities next year, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports.

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In 4 out of 10 municipalities, the fees will increase by more than 20 percent, a survey by the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) shows.

According to industry experts, the fees are increasing due to the high energy prices and interest rate hikes.

"Interest rates are rising, and inflation is high. In addition, many large investments have been made in the water and sewage (infrastructure), Helge Eide in the KS stated, according to NRK.

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The association carried out a survey among Norwegian municipalities in connection with the government's proposal for the state budget.

Of the 79 municipalities that have responded to the survey, all stated that the fees for water and sewage would be increased next year.

Roughly 40 percent of the municipalities that have responded to the survey expect the fees to increase by more than 20 percent in 2023, and 60 percent plan to increase water and sewage fees between 10 and 20 percent.

Water and sewage bill to increase in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim…

According to Eide, only a few municipalities can afford to subsidize the rising costs associated with water and sewage.

Some of Norway's biggest cities, such as Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen, and Stavanger, plan to increase water and sewage fees next year.

In Oslo, the City Council plans to increase the bill by more than 16 percent in 2023 – and the following years.

According to the City Council's estimates, the water and sewage fees in Oslo will increase by 3,500 kroner for an average household.

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This year, an average household in Oslo (i.e., a home of 87 square metres) will pay 4,101 kroner in water and sewage fees. On the other hand, homes of 120 square metres in the capital will go from paying 5,656 kroner this year to 10,527 kroner in 2026.

Fees in Bergen are likely to increase by 9 percent for water and 5 percent for sewage. For a home of 120 square metres, the bill will amount to 6,515 kroner next year – an increase of just over 400 kroner.

Fees related to water, sewage, and waste disposal in Trondheim are also set to increase by around 1,700 kroner, more than 16 percent, for an average household.

In Stavanger, the municipality plans to increase water fees by 24 percent and sewage fees by 12 percent.

The budgets in Norwegian municipalities have yet to be finalized in a lot of places, so some municipalities can't estimate how much the fees will increase yet.

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Water and sewage network upgrade

According to a report Sintef and Norconsult prepared on behalf of the industry organization Norsk Vann last year, the municipal water and sewage network needs upgrades totaling 332 billion kroner over the next 20 years.

On average, customers have to accept that fees will double – or even triple – in a number of regions and municipalities, CEO of Norsk Vann, Thomas Breen, told NRK in 2021.

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