Water Retail Code - minor and intermediate retailers
- Project Released: 02 May 2014
- Project Closes: 11 Mar 2015
- Contact: Kate Morrison
The Commission has determined that it is appropriate to consider further
reform of the Water Retail Code for minor and intermediate retailers in the
areas of customer contracts and customer charters. Customer contracts govern the
provision of retail services to customers and customer charters are the means by
which retailers provide information to customers regarding their rights and
obligations in respect of the retail service they receive.
Current status is Final
The Water Retail Code for minor and intermediate retailers (the Code) is the
principal consumer protection document setting out the behavioural standards and
minimum requirements to be complied with by minor and intermediate retailers
(M&I retailers) when dealing with their customers.
To date, the implementation of contracts that govern the provision of retail
services to customers (standard contracts) and customer charters (which are to
provide information to customers regarding their rights and obligations in
respect of the supply of a retail service) under the Code has been slow.
Therefore, the Commission has determined that it is appropriate to consider
further reform of the Code in those areas, to assist retailers and thereby
ensure that their customers receive the benefit of these key consumer
It is proposed that the Code be amended to include model standard contracts
and model customer charters. Standardisation will aid consumers and assist
retailers in delivering their consumer protection obligations. Those model
documents are to be adopted by M&I retailers for all of their customers or,
where relevant, for particular customer classes. Where existing contracts are in
place, those arrangements will continue until terminated, at which time a model
standard contract will apply.
Acknowledging that there is a suite of retail services that an individual
retailer may provide (e.g. drinking water, recycled water or sewerage), the
proposed model standard contracts will allow for provisions relating to specific
services to be included. In recognition of the fact that some M&I retailers
may wish to further modify certain aspects of the model standard contracts or
customer charters to reflect certain aspects of any unique retail services they
provide, a Commission-approved mechanism for variation is also proposed. Under
that scheme, any proposed amendments would need to be clearly marked, explained
and justified and submitted to the Commission for approval, prior to being
adopted or utilised.
It is noted that local government retailers can rely on rating provisions
under local government legislation and need not use contracts. Nevertheless, not
all local government retailers may wish to continue that practice and these
rating provisions do not apply to other retailers. For those retailers, it is
important that standard customer contracts are in place, and for all retailers
it is important that customer charters are in place, as soon as possible and
through a simple process.
The Commission is seeking submissions on the proposed amendments to the Code
as set out in the draft decision and the draft model standard contracts and
customer charters by 30 June 2014.