SA Water regulatory determination 2020


The SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020 (SAW RD20) review process has reached its next stage, with meetings of the Negotiation Forum concluding in June 2019. SA Water is now considering the outcomes of these discussions as it finalises its draft regulatory business proposal, due to the Commission in October 2019.

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 is now considering the outcomes of these discussions as it finalises its regulatory business proposal. The Chairperson of the Customer Negotiation Committee and Independent Probity Advisor are also preparing separate reports on their reflections on this process. The reports will be publicly released in October 2019, to allow other stakeholders to consider the outcomes of this initial testing process ahead of the release of the Commission’s Draft Determination in February 2020.

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 has been prepared to assist stakeholders to provide early views on any issues that the Commission needs to consider as it reviews the Code. The paper focuses on issues that have arisen through our initial analysis of market data and consultation with SA Water and the Consumer Experts Panel. This includes 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).

Any initial feedback on the issues that need to be further explored should be provided to the Commission by 30 August 2019, so that they can be considered as the consultation draft of the amended Code is prepared. Stakeholders will have another opportunity to comment on the draft Code in February 2020.

Next steps

  • 30 August 2019 – Initial submissions on the review of the Water Retail Code – Major retailers due
  • October 2019 – Commission publicly releases SA Water’s draft regulatory business proposal, Customer Negotiation Committee Chairperson report and Independent Probity Advisor’s report
  • February 2020 – Commission publicly releases the Draft Determination, seeking feedback from stakeholders by the end of March 2020
  • May 2020 – Commission publicly releases the Final Determination
  • 1 July 2020 – new regulatory period commences


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. 

SAWRD 2020 timeline of main stages infographic

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