1 What you can expect as a Water Corporation customer
2 1 Contents Introduction _2 Access and inclusion 3 Services we provide 4 Service Commitment Scheme _9 Billing and payment assistance _9 Maintenance and management of our assets and services 19 Maintenance of your internal services 23 Access to your meter 23 Contacting us _24 Complaints and resolution procedure 25 ISBN: August 2014
3 2 Introduction The aim of this document is to provide you with a clear understanding of what you can expect and what you need to do as a Water Corporation customer. Certain provisions may be varied for farmland customers, commercial customers and services provided by agreement in accordance with our Operating Licence. The standards in this document have been developed in alignment with the Water Services Code of Conduct (Customer Service Standards) 2013 (the Code). The service levels set out in this document reflect the conditions specified within Our Operating Licence, issued by the Economic Regulation Authority, and the Code.
4 3 Access and inclusion We strive to ensure that our business is accessible and inclusive to all members of the community. We will: Endeavour to improve access to our facilities, information and services. Provide free access to a Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) for customers with English as a second language. If you need this service please call us on Provide access for customers with hearing or speech impairment. Customers can phone the National Relay Service on for enquiries or to report a problem with their water service. Please advise the service the contact number is for Account Enquiries or (24 Hours) for Faults, Emergencies and Security. Provide information in alternative formats on request. Customers with special needs can phone to request accounts in an alternative format. Consult with the community to identify any problems or difficulties that may exist with access to our facilities, information and services. You should: Let us know if you have any special needs by calling Let us know of any problems or difficulties you may have accessing our information, facilities and services by calling Assist us by providing feedback when invited to comment on access and inclusion. Read our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan
5 4 Services we provide Water We provide water to cities, towns and small communities over a vast area in a range of climatic conditions. The water supply system in many areas is complex, with many different sources. We will: Provide you with a water service on application Install or activate the water service within 10 business days, or on an agreed day, once the Conditions for Connection (including fees and charges) are satisfied. Water quality Supplying safe drinking water is our highest priority. We have an extensive drinking water quality monitoring program to confirm the safety of the water we provide. We use many different water sources throughout the state and as each has its own water quality characteristics it is inevitable some differences in taste, odour and colour may be noticeable from one area to another or when supply sources are changed. We will: Supply you with water that is safe for you and your family to drink. Provide you with information on water quality to assist in your selection of household appliances. Continuously monitor and assess the quality of drinking water supplied. Endeavour to provide you with a response, within two hours or at an agreed time, to any reports of poor water quality. Advise you of any need to make alternative arrangements for drinking water, in the unlikely event that your water quality deteriorates. Make water quality sample results available on our website.
6 5 You should: Be aware that certain appliances may be unsuitable or not perform efficiently with some types of water. When purchasing a water using appliance, such as a dishwasher or hot water system, you should check with your retailer that it is suitable for the water quality in your area. Ensure all internal plumbing is maintained in good order and in compliance with plumbing standards. Contact us on (24 Hours) if you have any concerns or enquiries regarding water quality. Pressure and flow The water pressure and flow that we supply to your property is measured at the outlet of your meter. We aim to: Provide you with water that is at a flow rate of at least 20 litres per minute. Provide you with water that is within a standard pressure range (other than those areas which are exempt in our Operating Licence). Perth metropolitan areas = minimum 15 to maximum 100 metres static pressure. Country urban areas = minimum 13 to maximum 100 metres static pressure. You should: Contact us on (24 Hours) if you notice a significant change in your water flow or pressure.
7 6 Wastewater Everything you pour down the sink or put down the toilet goes through the wastewater system. This travels to a treatment plant where we process it prior to recycling it to the environment in a sustainable manner. Wastewater treatment plants play a key role in protecting public health standards within our community. We will: Remove the wastewater from your property and treat it to a high quality, to protect public health and the environment. Maintain and operate the wastewater service up to the property connection point. Routinely monitor the quality of our treated wastewater before it passes back to the environment. You should: Avoid flushing foreign objects other than toilet paper into the wastewater system through toilets, sinks, baths and showers as they block the wastewater system. Dispose of household waste correctly. Keep overflow relief gullies free of obstruction. Overflow relief gullies are located on the property plumbing, external to the house/building and prevent internal flooding in the event of a blockage. Maintain safe access to the property inspection shaft. The property inspection shaft is located where the internal plumbing connects to our sewer. Keep access chambers (wastewater manholes) that may be located on your property, free of obstruction and safe to access. Listed below are ways of disposing of common substances: Cooking oil / grease - Wrap in paper and place in bin
8 7 Chemicals e.g. paint - Give to a licensed hazardous wastes contractor or contact your local Government Cleaning products or pesticides - Give to a licensed hazardous wastes contractor or contact your local Government Food scraps - Place in bin or compost onsite Newspaper / plastics - Recycle - contact your local Government Engine oils - Take to local garage or oil recycling centre Unused medicines - Return to pharmacy Nappies, razors, cotton buds Dispose of appropriately in bin Syringes place in properly sealed, puncture proof container and dispose of in bin or preferably in your nearest public sharps disposal bin Food waste disposal units Food waste disposal units are a prohibited fixture in domestic, commercial and industrial waste situations. Food waste is principally organic in nature and may be successfully composted onsite and used as a soil enhancer. Alternatively, food waste should be placed in your waste rubbish bin for processing by your local Government. Wastewater odours Occasionally some odours do occur in our wastewater system. We aim to minimise odour originating from our system so that it does not unreasonably impact on premises neighbouring our facilities. We aim to: Investigate and advise you of the outcome of any odour complaints within 24 hours or on the following business day. You should: Contact us if you have an odour complaint on (24 Hours). We take all complaints about odours from our wastewater treatment plants seriously and will act promptly to overcome the problem.
9 8 Drainage The drainage system for urban development consists of roadside drains, piped drains and open channels. We have responsibility for providing, operating and maintaining the main drain component of this system for approximately 40% of the developed urban land in Perth. The collector drains connecting to our main drains and the drainage system within the remainder of the Metropolitan Area are managed by local government. We also provide a rural drainage service, to help make land viable for agriculture, in six proclaimed Drainage District areas in the south of the state. We will: Provide a drainage system that aims to minimise the effects of flooding on your property as a result of stormwater or groundwater by working with others including: The Department of Water, in accordance with its drainage plans. Local governments by operating an integrated drainage system. Land planning agencies to ensure that drainage management is addressed prior to land being released for use. There are some simple ways you can help to improve the quality of drain water and drainage system operation. You should: Keep rubbish (e.g. litter, paint thinner, motor oil, car cleaning products, pool chemicals) out of stormwater drains. Use less fertiliser and/or low-phosphorous fertiliser on gardens and lawns. Gather up leaves, twigs and clippings for composting before they end up in stormwater drains and also potentially block the drain. Irrigation We own and operate the Ord River Dam, and provide a bulk supply or storage of non-potable water by agreement to customers within the Ord Irrigation District. Read our Terms and Conditions of Supply.
10 9 Service Commitment Scheme Customers are our highest priority and we strive to be recognised for excellence in customer service. Our Service Commitment Scheme outlines our commitment to providing service in seven key areas. Billing and payment assistance The following information outlines our billing practices and how you can manage and pay your accounts conveniently. Billing All water service charges, including both the price levels and the tariff structure itself, are decided by the State Government which balances the impact of water prices with the total social, economic and environmental needs of the State. We issue accounts every two months to properties where water, wastewater, and / or drainage services are available. Some properties may be billed more frequently. You can request a meter reading and bill to determine outstanding charges for a period that is not the same as the usual billing cycle. For information on our rates and charges visit our website. You can also receive and pay your bills electronically via My Water. We will: Issue accounts or notifications of accounts to the owner of the property or their nominated agent at the last notified postal or address. You should: Notify us of a change of postal or address, or ownership, or any change to your land use. Liability for charges The property owner is liable for all service and water use charges. Any arrangement between an owner and tenant in relation to the payment of charges is a private matter between those parties.
11 10 If the property is sold, any outstanding charges should be deducted from the proceeds of the sale. In the event that these charges are not cleared, the debt will transfer to the new owner. Tenants As a service to property owners, we will issue accounts to either the property agent or tenant at the owner s request. However, where the account is sent to anyone other than the owner, and it remains unpaid after the due date, recovery action will be taken against the owner. Pensioner and senior concessions If you hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card, State Concession Card or a WA Seniors Card (with or without a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card) you could be entitled to a service charges rebate and/or water use concession on your account. To find out whether you are eligible or to apply, visit our website or call If you are receiving a rebate or concession, you should: Notify us of any change in circumstances which may impact your eligibility Pay your account by the due date to retain the service charges rebate. Non-payment will result in the rebate being reversed and the full amount being placed into deferral if you are eligible to defer. Paying your account There are a number of ways you can pay your account. These include: Direct debit Pay online BPAY BPAY View My Water (online customer self service) In person at any post office By phone Centrepay Mail
12 11 To find out more see which payment methods are available. You should: Pay the amount shown on your account by the date specified. If an account is not paid by the due date, you may be charged interest on the overdue amounts. Payment difficulties and Financial Hardship Policy If you are experiencing difficulty in paying your account, one of our consultants will handle your enquiry in confidence, and with fairness and compassion. If you simply require a few more days to pay, call us on or request an extension via My Water. Conditions apply. For further information on how we can assist, you can view our website and our Financial Hardship Policy. Alternatively, you can call us on (TTY users call the National Relay Service on ) to request a copy. You should: Contact us immediately if you are unable to pay your account by the due date. Non-payment of account restriction of water supply If overdue accounts remain unpaid, the restriction of your water supply may occur. We will use our best endeavours to inform you in person, by telephone or electronic means of our intention to restrict your water supply. Restriction of the water supply will not occur unless: At least 30 days has lapsed since the due date of the original account. You have been given at least two working days notice of our intention to restrict the water supply. We may restrict your water supply if you do not comply with a payment plan or other arrangement you have set up to pay your charges, including arrears.
13 12 If we restrict supply of water to you, we will provide a flow sufficient for health and hygiene purposes. We will restore the water supply following: Payment of amounts owed including the restoration fee; or Agreement to a suitable instalment plan to pay these amounts. Where restriction of your water supply is not possible or your overdue accounts remain unpaid after your water has been restricted, we can take legal action through the courts to recover any outstanding charges. This means a minor case claim will be lodged with the Magistrate s Court and served on you by a bailiff. This action results in your information being provided to credit reporting agencies which will limit your ability to obtain credit such as a bank loan or credit card. Once served, you are required to admit to the claim and enter into a realistic payment arrangement to clear your debt, or communicate your intention to defend the claim. If you ignore the claim and do nothing, we may apply for judgement and issue a Property (Seizure & Sale) Order. This may result in your goods or land being seized to be sold to generate the funds to clear the debt. If this occurs, all costs in relation to the recovery of outstanding charges will be added to your account. At all times interest will continue to accrue on your outstanding charges. Restoration of water supply If the payment conditions are met before 3pm on a business day we will restore the water service by the next business day (2 business days outside the metropolitan area) If the conditions are met at any other time the water service will be restored within the next 2 business days (3 business days outside the metropolitan area) You should: Contact us immediately if you are unable to pay your account by the due date.
14 13 Review of bills We will review your bill at your request in accordance with the requirements of the Water Services Code of Conduct (Customer Service Standards) After conducting a review of a bill, if we are satisfied that the bill is correct, we may: Request payment of any unpaid amount Conduct a meter registration test if you consider that the meter is not accurately measuring water passing through it. The test will be conducted within 10 business days of receiving your request and payment of the meter test fee, or at an agreed day and time with you Provide you with information concerning the process and operation of both our internal and external complaints handling process, which includes your right to refer any complaint to the Energy and Water Service Ombudsman. Where you have been overcharged, we must tell you and follow the procedures set out in the Water Services Code of Conduct (Customer Service Standards) 2013 for repaying the money. We will: Tell you if an overcharge has occurred within 15 business days of becoming aware of the overcharging Provide you with the options on how to have the overcharged amount either credited to your account, or refunded to you, at your request Provide the refunds of any overcharged amount within 15 business days of your lodged request. If you have been undercharged we may recover the undercharged amount from you in accordance with the Water Services Code of Conduct (Customer Service Standards) We will: Only recover the amount undercharged for a service provided in the 12 months prior to the date of which we notify you the undercharging
15 14 has occurred List the amount undercharged in a special bill or as a separate item in the next bill, together with an explanation of that amount Not charge a late payment fee or bill interest on any undercharged amount Offer you the opportunity to pay this amount in instalments, interest free, over the same period of time during which you were undercharged. Review of service charges The Water Corporation s prices are set by the Government each year and cannot be reviewed. For residential properties, the wastewater and drainage service charge components of your bill are based on the rateable value (Gross Rental Value or GRV) of your property set by the Valuer General. If you wish to dispute the GRV you need to contact Landgate or visit landgate.wa.gov.au Review of water use charges Water use charges are based on a meter reading or an estimate of the quantity of water used. We respect your right to safeguard your property by locking entrance gates however safe access to the meter for reading and servicing is a legislated requirement. If we do not have access to your meter we may bill you on an estimate of your water use. If you receive an estimated account due to non-access to the meter, and you believe the estimate is not in line with normal use, you may provide an actual read. After three consecutive water use estimates at your property we will contact you to obtain an actual read to align your water use charges with the actual meter registration. If the water use is based on a meter reading and you are not satisfied with the review of the account you can request a check read or meter test.
16 15 If you believe your meter is faulty, you may request that we test it for you. You will be required to pay a set fee before testing commences. If the meter is found to be faulty the meter test fee will be refunded and the water use charges adjusted. We will: Conduct a meter registration test if you consider that the meter is not accurately measuring water passing through it. The test will be conducted within ten business days of receiving your request and payment of the fee, or at an agreed day and time. If the water use is based on an estimate we will notify you on request of: The reason for the estimate The basis of the estimate If you wish to dispute the estimated water use you may request a revised bill based on further information you provide us. Leak allowances We offer a reduction in charges if you have had undetectable leaks repaired by a licensed plumber or waterwise irrigation specialist. A reduction in charges for a leak would be considered only after you have had your plumbing works completed to the required plumbing/industry standards and with all leaks repaired. We will: Endeavour to notify you if we suspect your internal service is leaking Endeavour to assess any application for a leak allowance within 15 business days based on the evidence provided by the licensed plumber or waterwise irrigation specialist. Decline any leak allowance application that does not meet the eligibility criteria and advise the reasons. You should: Make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the property s internal water infrastructure is maintained in good working order. Ensure repair of leaks on a water supply is undertaken by a
17 16 plumber who is licensed with the Plumbers Licensing Board or waterwise irrigation specialist. Lodge a Leak Allowance Application within 14 days of the repairs being completed. Be aware that the owner of a property is liable for the costs of all water supplied to the property. (Section 92 Water Services Act 2012). For more information on our eligibility criteria or to apply for a special allowance, please call on or download the leak allowance application form. You can also read our Leak Allowance Policy. Complaints If you would like to lodge a complaint we encourage you to contact us directly in the first instance to enable a quick and effective resolution free of charge. Your complaint will be investigated objectively, equitably and in an unbiased manner. Alternatively you can lodge your complaint with the Energy and Water Service Ombudsman. You can advise us of your complaint by: Calling our Customer Service Centres. For accounts complaints (between 8am 5pm weekdays, except public holidays). For water service complaints (24 hours). ing us at Faxing us on (08) If you have hearing or speech difficulties you can call the National Relay Service on and request number for accounts or (24 Hours) for water service. If English is not your first language, call the telephone interpreter service on and request number for accounts or (24 Hours) for water quality. Write to us at Locked bag 2 Osborne Park Delivery Centre WA 6916.
18 17 Complaints will be handled in accordance with the Australian Standard on Complaints Handling* and in conjunction with the Water Services Code of Conduct (Customer Service Standards) When you register a complaint, we will acknowledge this by recording your complaint for further investigation and resolution. We will work towards addressing your complaints within 15 business days commencing from the date the complaint was received. We will contact you either by phone or in writing (if requested) concerning the outcome of your complaint. We will postpone any debt recovery action while a billing complaint is being investigated. If you are not satisfied that the outcome is fair and reasonable, you can: Request that we advise you of the reasons for the outcome in writing. You can refer the complaint to the Energy and Water Service Ombudsman. The Energy and Water Service Ombudsman is an independent, free service available to all customers and can investigate and resolve disputes between customers and Water Corporation. In handling complaints, the Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia considers what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances, taking into account good industry practice and relevant law. You can contact the Energy and Water Service and Ombudsman by: Calling (08) or free call ing your complaint to Completing the Water Service and Energy Ombudsman online complaint form Writing to PO Box Z5386 St Georges Tce Perth WA 6831 * The International Standards Organisation (ISO) Australian standard defines
19 18 a complaint as An expression of dissatisfaction made to an organisation, related to its products and or services, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected. **STD/pay phone and mobiles charged at applicable rates. Review by State Administrative Tribunal If your complaint is about a property record such as the classification of your property and you are not satisfied with our decision, you may notify us that you wish the matter referred to the State Administrative Tribunal for review. For more information about the State Administrative Tribunal visit sat.justice.wa.gov.au
20 19 Maintenance and management of our assets and services Under the Water Services Act 2012 and Regulations it is unlawful to tamper with, interfere or deliberately damage Water Corporation infrastructure including pipes, meters, and fittings. The Water Corporation may interrupt the supply of water to a customer s property for the purposes of maintenance and repair but will not cut off the supply of water to an occupied property without the agreement of an occupier. Responsibility for maintenance We will: Maintain the water service up to and including the property meter outlet tail. Maintain the wastewater service up to the property connection. You should: Advise us immediately if damage occurs to any of our assets or services on your property by calling us on (24 Hours). Report any damage or suspected criminal activity relating to our assets or services by calling us on (24 Hours). Be aware that if you are planning to build a new home or carry out renovations, we must approve building plans to ensure the protection of our water, wastewater and drainage assets. For work that does not require plans you can find the location of our service pipes by calling us on Be aware that if you plan to demolish, the relevant shire and the Water Corporation need to be notified as protection of our assets is required. Keep overflow relief gullies free of obstruction. Overflow relief gullies are located on the property plumbing, external to the house/building and prevent internal flooding in the event of a blockage.
21 20 Maintain safe access to the property inspection shaft. The property inspection shaft is located where the internal plumbing connects to our sewer. Keep access chambers (wastewater manholes) that may be located on your property, free of obstruction and safe to access. Maintain all internal plumbing in good order and in compliance with plumbing standards Avoid planting inappropriate trees near your wastewater pipes, as they can cause root intrusion, breakage and blockages. For information on finding the right tree to plant please call us on Planned interruption to water supply We make every effort to minimise interruption to your water supply, but on occasions we need to carry out planned maintenance on our services. We aim to: Provide you with notice 24 hours in advance if we need to interrupt your water supply for planned work. Unplanned interruption to services We aim to minimise the occurrence and impact to customers properties from water flooding resulting from bursts and leaks in our water mains and wastewater overflows resulting from our systems or activities performed. We aim to: Provide a prompt response within two hours to undertake repairs and clean-up if there is water flooding or wastewater overflow on your property due to our system failure. Keep you informed during an emergency on the status of the work being undertaken. Respond to urgent water faults within two hours or at an agreed time.
22 21 Entry to your property Employees or contractors of Water Corporation may need to enter your property to carry out inspections, routine maintenance and repair work on our system. This will be done during regular business hours except in an emergency. We aim to: Provide advance notice of all planned work that may require entry to your property (except meter reading and maintenance). Inform the occupier of the land or premises of work being undertaken. During an emergency, where the occupier is not present we will leave an information card. Identification of our staff Should we need to enter your property, our employees or contractors will carry identification that will be shown to you (or to any person present at the time of access) if necessary. Reinstatement of your property We take great care to leave your property, gardens and lawns as they were after we have finished any services or maintenance work. We will: Assist in the reinstatement or replacement of property or equipment lost or damaged as a result of our actions or failure of our systems. Reinstate your property as close as possible to its original condition. Exclusions This may not apply: Where the work carried out is the result of the property owner or another party causing an obstruction or damage to our services. If reinstatement means that clearance or Occupational Health and Safety requirements will be breached.
23 22 Managing incidents Our incident management process is based on national guidelines that have been adopted by emergency services and utilities throughout Australia. We have a rigorous process for dealing with events outside normal operation and protecting our customer s interests. In the event of a major incident we will: Mobilise all necessary resources to safeguard the communities interests and return services to normal as soon as possible. Provide a Customer Liaison Coordinator to assist and support you to ensure a smooth transition and minimise the impact on you. Protecting critical infrastructure We have a state-wide security programme that embraces national and international All Hazards security emergency standards. We aim to: Comply with the National Guidelines for protecting critical infrastructure. Employ proven technology to monitor critical assets. You should: Report deliberate damage or suspected criminal activity relating to our assets, to the police and by calling our Faults, Emergencies and Security number on (24 Hours).
24 23 Maintenance of your internal services The pipe work from the property water meter (from the plumbers elbow) and the wastewater connection point to your residence remains the responsibility of the owner. You must employ a licensed plumber to carry out all repairs and modifications to pipes and fittings on your property which are your responsibility. If you experience a leak in your internal plumbing, contact a licensed plumber to locate and repair the leak. We have a range of waterwise licensed plumbers listed on our website. In the event of a leak in your irrigation system, the system must be brought up to standard (including a manual isolation valve and master solenoid). We have a range of waterwise irrigators listed on our website. In certain circumstances we may consider a special leak allowance to offset part of the wastage. Access to your meter An employee or contractor of the Water Corporation is entitled to enter your property to read, service or replace your water meter. It only takes a few moments for us to read your water meter but this simple job is sometimes made difficult and unsafe when we don t have safe and easy access to the meter. If we do not have access to your meter we may bill you on an estimate of your water use. Servicing or replacing your meter also requires clear, safe access. Under the Water Services Act 2012 and Regulations you are legally required to ensure that safe access to a meter is available. When access to the meter continues to be prevented we may issue you with a compliance notice to relocate the meter or remove the obstruction. If the compliance notice is not acted upon, we may undertake the work necessary to make the meter accessible and recover the charges incurred. You should: Provide a clear space of at least 30 cm around, cm below and