13 Jul 2012 Water
On 1 July 2012, the Essential Services Commission became the independent economic regulator of the South Australian water industry under the Water Industry Act 2012.
In undertaking our regulatory functions, we have the primary objective of protecting the long-term interests of South Australian consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of essential services.
We have developed a proposed regulatory approach for the South Australian water industry, including pricing frameworks for SA Water and other suppliers and a strong consumer protection regime.
Under that approach, for the first time, SA Water and other suppliers will be legally required to deliver legally binding and enforceable consumer protection standards.
The consumer protection regime will include obligations around billing, payment (including flexible payment arrangements) and dispute resolution – including the right for consumers to make complaints about water businesses to the Energy and Water Ombudsman of SA. We are also concerned about the impacts of financial stress on consumers and will mandate the adoption of Hardship Programs by water businesses in order to protect the most vulnerable
Pricing of retail services for SA Water will continue to be set by the Government, with our initial responsibility being limited to determining the annual revenue requirements. Our first revenue determination for SA Water will commence on 1 July 2013.
For other water businesses, we will have a broader price setting role, with an intention to develop pricing principles in the first instance.
We have today released consultation documents seeking the views of all stakeholders in three key regulatory areas:
Comments should be provided by 24 August 2012.
Further information on our role in the water industry is available in the Consultation Fact Sheet.
We have also today released a Statement of Approach to the Economic Regulation of SA Water’s Revenues.