Minor and intermediate retailers regulatory performance report 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020

04 Jun 2021

The Commission reports annually on the performance of water and sewerage service retailers with 50,000 or fewer customers (Minor and Intermediate Retailers) in delivering water and sewerage services to South Australian residential and business consumers.

This is the Commission’s eighth annual report on the performance of Minor and Intermediate Retailers, and details their compliance with consumer protection and pricing regulatory requirements.

The key observations in the report for 2019-20 are:

  • Minor and intermediate retailers provided water retail services to approximately 5,600 customers and sewerage/community wastewater management scheme services to approximately 99,200 customers.
  • Seventy two percent of retailers complied with all of the relevant pricing principles. The proportion of retailers reporting full-cost recovery fell to 59 percent compared to 64 percent in the previous year. A key reason for this is that some Councils sought to provide temporary relief for customers from the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, by either keeping prices unchanged or increasing prices at a slower rate.
  • The scale and scope of water and sewerage services offered varies considerably across retailers, resulting in a spread of customer prices and service performance.
  • The cost of providing drinking water and sewerage services varies between retailers (due to those scale and scope factors such as asset age/type, geography, customer base etc), resulting in a spread of customer prices across retailers. The estimated residential water bills ranged between $682 and $1,319. For sewerage services, estimated bills ranged between $250 and $972.
  • At 30 June 2020, 16 retailers reported having a total of 273 residential customers of drinking water and sewerage services participating in their hardship programs, compared to 18 retailers and 192 residential customers last year. Further, 37 retailers reported having 5,497 residential customers on flexible payment arrangement plans, compared to 38 retailers and 5,979 residential customers last year.
  • For drinking water services, retailers reported fewer unplanned interruptions and mains breaks (23 in total), compared to 32 in the previous year. For sewerage services (including Community Wastewater Management Systems), retailers reported more unplanned interruptions and mains breaks (2,153 in total), compared to 579 in the previous year. The increase in unplanned sewerage interruptions was due to the power outages in the Adelaide Hills region at the time of the Cudlee Creek bushfire.