Licensee information - SA Water

SA Water

 

SAWB1/1 Bulletin no 1 - General information

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SA Water Bulletin no 1 - General information

SA Water is a vertically integrated water and sewerage business, wholly owned by the South Australian Government. SA Water provides drinking water and sewerage services to approximately 1.7 million South Australians.

The retail services provided by SA Water are subject to economic regulation by the Commission under the Essential Services Commission Act 2002  and the Water Industry Act 2012 (WI Act). 

The economic regulatory regime has two main elements:

  • SA Water is licensed by the Commission under the WI Act to provide retail services, subject to conditions. While some matters are addressed through licence conditions alone, the Commission is able to make industry codes or rules that prescribe the rules of conduct and procedures that SA Water must follow in providing retail services. This relates in particular to the setting of service standards and the nature and scope of consumer protections that must be adhered to by SA Water.
  • The Commission also has the discretion to make determinations relating to pricing for SA Water’s retail services. Under the legislative settings of the regime, the Commission sets the maximum revenues that can be earned by SA Water for the provision of retail services (having regard to the service standard, consumer protection and other regulatory requirements), with SA Water being responsible for setting the specific prices that recover the relevant revenues.

The Commission’s overall purpose and approach in regulating SA Water aims to encourage economically efficient behaviour that is in consumers’ long-term interests. 

SA Water also is regulated by other bodies in relation to matters such as health, quality safety and environmental obligations: the Commission works closely with those bodies but is not responsible for those other regulatory requirements or outcomes.

SAWB2/1 Bulletin no 2 - Licensing requirements

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SA Water Bulletin no 2 - Licensing requirements

Section 18 of the Water Industry Act requires water retailers to secure a licence to provide water services to South Australian consumers. An application for a water industry licence must be made to the Commission, complying with the following requirements: 

  • In a form approved by the Commission 
  • Contain the information specified in the form  
  • Payment of an application fee, as reasonable costs for determining the application 
  • Any relevant information that the Commission requires with respect to the licence application

The Water Industry Act prohibits any person to provide water retail services unless the Commission has issued a licence to provide retail services and conduct any relevant operation or activity. 

The Commission has published resources for entities wishing to apply for a new, transferred, or varied water retail licence. These reference documents set out the process and requirements to apply for a licence issued by the Commission to water industry entities pursuant to the Act. 

Information on licensing requirements for water entities can be accessed at the Licence applications page.

 

SAWB2/1 Bulletin no 3 - Regulatory obligations

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SA Water Bulletin no 3 - Regulatory obligations

 

SA Water has ongoing compliance obligations in respect of its water and sewerage service operations. As a condition of its water retail licence, SA Water is required to comply with the following regulatory instruments:

  • Water Industry Act 2012
  • Water Industry Regulations 2012
  • Water industry retail licence
  • Retail code - major retailers
  • Service standards - major retailers
  • SA Water regulatory determination

The Commission expects that licensees have, and rigorously adhere to, a sound and robust compliance system. Licensees are expected to regularly examine, identify and comply with all obligations that apply to their licenced operations. 

The sections that follow summarise the types of obligations SA Water must comply with. 

Water Industry Act 2012 and Regulations
  • Licence Fees & Returns
  • Offence to contravene licence conditions
  • Standard terms and conditions for retail services
  • Customer hardship policies
  • Appointment of Operator
  • Identity cards
  • Power to enter land to conduct investigations
  • Power to carry out work on land
  • Duty to give notice before paving a road etc
  • Water meters
  • Disconnection etc if entry refused
  • Responsibilities of water industry entity
  • Fire plugs
  • Protection of tenants and lessees of residential premises
Water industry retail licence
  • Information to the Commission
  • Material breach of the Act
  • Material breach of an applicable industry code or industry rule
  • Fees
  • Sale and supply of retail services to customers
  • Compliance with laws and Industry Codes
  • Provision of information to customers
  • Restriction, discontinuance & disconnection
  • Ombudsman and disputes
  • Accounts and separate business
  • Information to the Commission
  • Operational and compliance audits
  • Insurance
  • Customer concessions & community service obligations
  • Confidentiality
Water industry retail code
  • Obtaining a copy of this industry code or the standard contract
  • Customer charter
  • Enquiries, complaints and dispute resolution
  • Customer communications
  • Price disclosure
  • Water efficiency advice
  • Leak monitoring and notification
  • Concessions, rebates or grants
  • Life support equipment
  • Customer hardship policies
  • Provision of retail services
  • Customer sale contracts
  • Continuation of retail services on land transfers
  • Connections
  • Termination of retail services
  • Retailer supply obligations
  • Service standards
  • Billing
  • Changes in tariff types or rates
  • Billing disputes
  • Undercharging
  • Overcharging
  • Payments
  • Credit and debt management
  • Payment difficulties and flexible payment plans
  • Restriction of water supply
  • Disconnections
  • Restoration of supply
  • Force majeure
  • Appointment of operator
  • Illegal use
Service standards

  • Customer service
  • Connections
  • Response (attendance)
  • Restoration
SA Water regulatory determination
  • Maximum drinking water retail services revenues
  • Drinking water retail services revenue adjustment statement
  • Maximum sewerage retail services revenue
  • Sewerage retail services revenue adjustment statement
  • River Murray Water Licence adjustment mechanism
  • Shared infrastructure revenue adjustment mechanism
  • Intra-period review mechanism
  • Price control for recycled water retail services
  • Pricing justification for recycled water retail services
  • Publication obligations in respect of recycled water retail services
  • Price control for excluded retail services
  • Pricing justification for excluded retail services
  • Publication obligations in respect of excluded retail services

SAWB2/1 Bulletin no 4 - Reporting requirements

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SA Water Bulletin no 4 - Reporting requirements

SA Water has ongoing monitoring and reporting obligations in respect of three areas: compliance reporting, operational performance reporting and financial reporting. As a condition of its water retail licence, SA Water is required to report in accordance with the following guidelines:

The Commission places a strong emphasis on licensees constantly monitoring performance, outcomes and trends. 
SA Water is expected to regularly examine, identify, report on, and explain performance outcomes, to provide greater transparency to consumers and stakeholders. 

Key dates for SA Water’s regulatory reporting each year are shown below.

Date Reporting requirement Guideline
As required  Material compliance report No 1 - Compliance and reporting
31 January Quarterly report (Oct - Dec) No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers
30 April Quarterly report (Jan - Mar) No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers
30 June Request for alternate sign-off arrangements No 1 - Compliance and reporting
 1 July Pricing policy statement and pricing schedule No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers
31 August  DRAFT annual return No 1 - Compliance and reporting
31 August  Annual compliance report No 1 - Compliance and reporting
30 September  FINAL annual return No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers
 31 October Quarterly report (July - Sep) No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers
 30 November Annual regulatory accounting statements  No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers


The sections that follow summarise the types of reporting requirements SA Water must comply with. 

Guideline No 1 - Compliance and reporting

The Commission adopts a multi-tiered approach to compliance reporting, based on a risk assessment of obligations arising under applicable regulatory instruments (for example, the water retail licence and the Water Retail Code – Major Retailers). 

The Commission expects that SA Water will monitor compliance with all regulatory obligations throughout the year and resolve any potential non-compliances as they arise. However, the Commission only requires reporting on these regulatory obligations as follows:

Material breach compliance reports must be provided to the Commission in the form set out in Guideline No. 1. If a SA Water breaches a Type 1 obligation (as prescribed in Guideline No. 1), or an obligation that the Commission or a retailer otherwise considers to be “material”, a report must be provided as soon as SA Water becomes aware of the breach and, in any event, no later than 3 days after becoming aware that the breach has occurred.

Annual compliance reports must be provided to the Commission by 30 November of each reporting year, in respect of all regulatory obligations in the form set out in Water Guideline No. 1. SA Water is required to warrant to the Commission, the accuracy of information contained in its annual compliance report.

Reports must be signed off in accordance with the requirements of Guideline No. 1. For annual compliance reports, SA Water may request an alternate sign-off arrangements. This request must be received by 31 May in the relevant reporting year. Requests may be submitted to compliance@escosa.sa.gov.au using the form available below. 

Completed reports must be submitted to the Commission via email to compliance@escosa.sa.gov.au.  Alternatively, access to a secure file sharing application can be provided each year on request.  

Please refer to Guideline No 1 - Compliance and reporting, for further information. 

Guideline No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers 

Guideline No 2 provides for the collection, allocation and recording of business data by SA Water and covers a range of information and reporting requirements specified by the Commission in respect of SA Water’s operational performance. Performance reporting covers two areas:

  • financial performance reporting, and
  • operational performance reporting. 

Financial performance reporting requires SA Water to submit pricing schedules and pricing policy statements to the Commission by 1 July each year. In addition, SA Water is required to submit regulatory accounting statements by 30 November each year. Financial performance reporting must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of Guideline No. 2 and SA Water’s Regulatory Determination

Operational performance reporting requires SA Water to report, on a quarterly or annual basis, performance outcomes in the following performance areas:

  • customer satisfaction
  • telephone responsiveness
  • first contact resolution
  • complaint responsiveness
  • complaint escalation
  • connection responsiveness
  • restrictions and legal action for non-payment
  • financial measures
  • price movements
  • water quality responsiveness
  • water event responsiveness – high priority
  • water event responsiveness – low priority
  • sewer event responsiveness
  • water infrastructure reliability
  • water service restoration timeliness
  • sewerage infrastructure reliability 
  • sewer service restoration timeliness
  • sewer overflow clean-up timeliness, and
  • statistical information.

Operational performance reports must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of Guideline No. 2 and SA must submit this information using the prescribed proformas. The reports must be provided to the Commission as follows:

  • three quarterly reports (in respect of the September, December and March quarters) due one calendar month after the end of that quarter
  • DRAFT annual return by 31 August following the end of each regulatory year, and
  • FINAL annual return by 30 September following the end of each regulatory year.

Financial performance reports and operational performance reports must be submitted with the relevant responsibility statement in accordance with the requirements of Guideline 2. This includes sign-off from SA Water’s Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent). A responsibility statement will be taken as evidence that the data provided by a retailer has been verified, is accurate and can be relied upon by the Commission.

Completed reports must be submitted to the Commission via email to reporting@escosa.sa.gov.au.  Alternatively, access to a secure file sharing application can be provided each year on request.  

Please refer to Guideline No 2 - Information requirements for major retailers, for further information. 

SA Water regulatory determination 2020: monitoring and evaluating performance 

SA Water must comply with the Monitoring and Evaluating Performance Framework, which has been developed to introduce an appropriate level of independent oversight into SA Water’s ongoing investment planning and evaluation processes. In summary, the monitoring framework aims to introduce more transparency for stakeholders into SA Water’s ongoing investment planning and evaluation processes. Initially, the framework focuses on four areas described below:

Service standards with performance targets
  • SA Water is required to report to customers and other stakeholders on a quarterly basis, as soon as practicable after the end of a quarter (for example, one month). 
  • It is acknowledged that the requirement for quarterly performance ‘snapshots’ may mean that finalised data may not be available, and will need to be updated as part of the annual performance assessment. 
  • SA Water is expected to clearly identify and explain the extent to which publicly reported data is based on a combination of actual and forecast results at the time of publication.
  • Any variations or updates to previously reported quarterly data will need to be identified and explained in end of year reporting.
Expenditure and revenue outcomes 
  • SA Water is required to publicly report annual financial performance self-assessments, supported by a system of verified trust and accountability around that reporting. The annual reports, and supporting data, will be published as soon as practicable after the end of a year.
  • SA Water is required to provide detailed information on an annual basis that demonstrates how SA Water’s projected drinking water and sewerage prices for the 2020-2024 regulatory period are expected to comply with the prescribed revenue caps.
  • SA Water is required to provide a public regulatory assurance statement to cover the 2020-2024 regulatory period (ie once final reconciled data are available). This assurance statement will be produced in a format for the public and will be in addition to the compliance statement provided to the Commission in April 2024.
  • The end of regulatory period compliance statement will need to demonstrate whether or not the revenues derived from the actual drinking water and sewerage prices, volumes and customer numbers during the period were at or within the revenue caps. It will also need to include data for all years of the 2020-2024 regulatory period. The form of the assurance statement should be accessible and understood by stakeholders (for example, a non-technical fact sheet). 
Key investment areas 
  • SA Water must demonstrate a clearer ‘line of sight’ between service objectives, inputs, outputs and service outcomes in the future. 
  • SA Water must provide public reports on its progress in achieving the outcomes it has committed to deliver in its final regulatory business plan, on an annual basis.While, over time, SA Water should have this capability across the board, the Commission will initially focus on the three key investment areas:
    • network reliability
    • water quality improvements, and
    • reducing overflows of sewage to the environment.
  • SA Water is responsible for developing the detailed form for this public reporting.
Long-term asset management and planning 
  • SA Water must develop, and publicly report on, its longer-term asset management plans and expected expenditure profile, on a rolling annual basis.
  • SA Water must have a long-term picture of the condition, performance, and investment profile for its entire asset stock. The Commission expects SA Water to share with stakeholders, details of the assumptions about how it will meet its current and future asset management and planning requirements.
  • SA Water is responsible for developing the detailed form for this public reporting.

Please refer to SA Water regulatory determination 2020: monitoring and evaluating performance, for further information.