icon-water Water Retail Code - major retailers

  • Project Released: 13 Jul 2012
  • Project Closes: 16 Nov 2012
  • Contact: Amber Miller

Overview

The water retail code - major retailers regulates retailer behaviour when supplying retail services (water and sewerage) to customers.  It includes provisions relating to standard form customer contracts, payment options, billing, enquiries, complaints and dispute resolution processes and the establishment of the service standards that customers can expect to receive from their water and/or sewerage retailer.

We have developed a water industry code, the water retail code - major retailers, to apply to SA Water from 1 January 2013. For details on the water retail code for intermediate and minor retailers refer to the Economic regulation of water retailers other than SA Water Project.

Status

Current status is Final

  • Initiate
  • Submissions  
  • Final

Final

The water retail code - major retailers is the principal consumer protection document setting out the behavioural standards and minimum requirements to be complied with by major retailers when dealing with their customers.

The water retail code - major retailers includes provisions covering the following areas:

  • Standard form customer sale contract – requirement for retailers to submit standard form contracts to the Commission, for approval;
  • Customer charter – minimum information provision requirements about the respective rights and obligations of retailers, customers and tenants;
  • Enquiry, complaint and dispute resolution procedures – internal procedures for handling customer enquiries, complaints and disputes, which must include escalation to an independent dispute resolution body where the issue cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the retailer, to be submitted to the Commission, for approval;
  • Hardship programs – requirement for retailers to have an approved residential customer hardship policy in place;
  • Retail supply obligations - the quality, safety and reliability of the supply of retail services (under a standard contract), including the requirement for retailers to minimise supply interruptions and provide information to customers on interruptions and develop and administer a compensation scheme for loss or damage suffered by customers;
  • Billing – minimum requirements around billing to ensure that customers receive accurate billing information in a timely manner and that customers’ needs are addressed when billing errors are determined, including requirements around undercharging and overcharging;
  • Payment and payment difficulties - minimum requirements for payment terms, payment methods and the requirements for managing temporary payment difficulties experienced by customers;
  • Disconnections and restrictions for non-payment - limitations on the grounds on which water and sewerage services may be restricted or disconnected and obligations on retailers prior to restricting a customer.

We have developed the initial set of service standards to apply to SA Water, in consultation with SA Water.  The initial set of service standards adopts and formalises SA Water’s internal monitoring and reporting in key customer service areas and are set at levels that require SA Water to maintain its historical performance.