SA Water regulatory determination 2020


SA Water has released its proposed plan for delivering water and sewerage services to customers from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024. SA Water’s proposed plan, titled “Our Plan 2020”  sets out its proposed customer service standards, revenues and indicative prices for drinking water and sewerage services for the next four years. 

The proposed plan was developed by SA Water following the establishment of a series of Guidance Papersprepared by the Essential Services Commission (Commission) and a process of customer and stakeholder engagement. That engagement included a process involving SA Water testing its initial proposals with a Customer Negotiation Committee, established by the Commission to challenge SA Water’ s plans prior to them being submitted to the Commission. The Chair of the Customer Negotiation Committee, Mr John Hill, has prepared a report on SA Water’s proposals and the challenge process that was undertaken. That process was subject to oversight by an Independent Probity Advisor, Mr Gaby Jaksa, who has also prepared a report on the fairness of the challenge process.

The Commission welcomes comments from all stakeholders on SA Water’s proposed plan and the reports of the Chair of the Customer Negotiation Committee and Independent Probity Advisor. Written submissions should be provided by 20 December 2019. It is preferred that submissions are sent electronically to:

Alternatively, submissions can be sent to:

Essential Services Commission
GPO Box 2605

Commission staff would also be pleased to meet with any stakeholders who would like to discuss their views on those documents. Please contact Mr Nathan Petrus, Director Consumer Protection and Pricing, on (08) 8463 4444 or if you would like to arrange a meeting.  

The Commission is now undertaking a detailed review of SA Water’s proposals and will consider all submissions as it prepares a Draft SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020 for February 2020. It will conduct a further round of public consultation on that Draft Determination before making a Final Determination in May 2020.

Background information on SAWRD20 and its process is set out in the SAWRD20 Framework and Approach

Negotiation Forum concludes discussions on SA Water's draft regulatory business plan 

The Commission established the Negotiation Forum as one of the ways for stakeholders to thoroughly scrutinise and test SA Water’s draft regulatory business proposal before it is submitted to the Commission in October 2019. The Negotiation Forum was comprised of the Customer Negotiation Committee, SA Water Negotiation Team, and an Independent Probity Advisor. 

The SAW RD20 Negotiation Forum held a series of meetings from February 2019 through to June 2019. The meetings allowed the Customer Negotiation Committee to test and constructively challenge how SA Water’s draft plans for the next regulatory period would provide water and sewerage services at the lowest sustainable price for the quality and reliability levels valued by customers.


SA Water responds to Consumer Experts Panel Priorities Report

The Commission established the Consumer Experts Panel to draw on the collective knowledge, skills, expertise and experience of Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee and SA Water’s customer advisory groups, sitting jointly as a Consumer Experts Panel.

The Consumer Experts Panel released its Priorities Report in January 2019. The Priorities Report describes key issues that the Consumer Experts Panel expects SA Water to consider and respond to as it develops its regulatory business proposal. It also provides guidance to the Customer Negotiation Committee on matters it may want to consider in the Negotiation Forum process. 

SA Water met with the Consumer Experts Panel in July 2019 to discuss the issues raised in the Priorities Report, which it has summarised in a public response for other stakeholders to consider.

Guidance paper 8: Treatment of capital expenditure - addressing uncertainty

The Commission has released a further Guidance Paper for SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020, relating to the proposed treatment of uncertain costs or benefits in SA Water’s capital expenditure plan for the 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024 period.

The paper is intended to provide guidance to all stakeholders of the Commission’s initial positions on principles, requirements and methodology on matters relevant to the determination. That initial guidance is intended to inform the review, and the positions put may change during the review based on stakeholder feedback and the outcomes of SA Water’s engagement with its customers. 

Any comments provided by stakeholders on any of the Guidance Papers are welcome at any time and will be taken into account by the Commission as it prepares for and undertakes the determination.  

Background briefing: Review of the Water Retail Code - major retailers 

The Commission is reviewing the Water Retail Code – Major Retailers (Code) as part of the SAW RD20 process.

A background briefing was prepared to assist stakeholders to provide early views on any issues that they wanted the Commission to consider as it reviews the Code. The paper focused on issues that have arisen through our initial analysis of market data and consultation with SA Water and the Consumer Experts Panel. This included communication requirements, customer billing and accounts, assistance for customers experiencing hardship (including family violence provisions) and minimum service standards (discussed further in Guidance Paper 3: Service standards).

The South Australian Council for Social Service provided a submission in response to the background briefing, which has helped to inform the Commission’s thinking as it develops the draft Code. Stakeholders will have another opportunity to comment on the draft Code in February 2020.

Audit of SA Water's performance data 

The Commission has completed an independent audit of SA Water’s data relating to specific key performance indicators. The objective of the audit was to provide assurance over the quality of the data reported by SA Water, which will form an input into SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020. 

The following performance indicators were audited by Cardno on behalf of the Commission, in respect of the period 2015/16 to 2017/18:

Number of customers with three or more unplanned water supply interruptions per year - annual. (Metro  and Regional ) 
Number of unplanned water supply interruptions (Metro and Regional) 
Number of unplanned interruptions sewerage (Metro and Regional) 

Based on the audit procedures and detailed testing carried out by Cardno, the Commission is satisfied that the six operational performance indicators that were included in the audit have been reported accurately by SA Water over the three year period and the processes to record and report the data are generally robust.

The Commission will rely on these data to inform SAW RD20. 

Related Project

SAWRD 2020 timeline of main stages infographic