Customer Charter

Our customers and community are of our upmost priority. Our Customer Charter sets out our service standards and conditions, as well as your rights and obligations as a Barwon Water customer.

Our Customer Charter is in line with the customer service code for urban water businesses, and trade waste customer service code from the Essential Services Commission, the independent regulator of the water sector in Victoria.

This charter combines and replaces a number of former charters, including:

  • Customer Charter for customers supplied with reticulated drinking water, reticulated non-drinking water and/or reticulated sewerage services;
  • Customer Charter for customers supplied with water by a separate written agreement;
  • Trade waste customer charter; and
  • Summary customer charter.

A temporary amendment has also been made, inserting the National Cabinet coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Policy and Principles – April 2020 (National Principles) under section 6 Customer Assistance.


Part A - Introduction

Barwon Water is Victoria’s largest regional urban water corporation. We play a critical role in the lives of our customers and community by providing high quality, affordable and reliable water and sewerage services.

Our vision is for an economically, socially and environmentally prosperous region.

Our mission is to strengthen our region's economy liveability and sustainability through the delivery of high quality and affordable water and sewerage services.

We care about our customers and community, and our area of responsibility stretches from Little River and the Bellarine Peninsula in the east, to Colac in the west, and from Meredith and Cressy in the north, to Apollo Bay on Victoria’s south-west coast.

1. Purpose

We have issued this Customer Charter to inform customers who are supplied with reticulated drinking water, non-drinking water or recycled water, and/or reticulated sewerage services, trade waste services and water supplied under a separate written agreement made after 30 June 2005, about the services we perform and our rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of you, our customer.

2. Commencement

This Customer Charter applies from 1 July 2018.

3. Variation

Before varying this Customer Charter, we will consult with you, our customer, and the Essential Services Commission (ESC).

4. Separate written agreements

A separate written agreement for the provision of a service made before 1 November 2004 does need not comply with this Customer Charter.

5. Provision of charter

We will provide a copy of this charter:

  • to existing customers - with the first bill after it has been approved by the ESC;
  • to new customers - within one month of becoming registered with us in respect of a property; and
  • to all new trade waste customers
  • to any customer upon request.

6. Notification of variation

If we make any changes to our Customer Charter in a significant way, we will inform you on or with the next bill sent to you after the charter has changed. The revised charter will also be shown on our website, with a full copy available upon request.

7. Offence

Under water law, it is an offence for a person to cause or permit the discharge of trade waste to the sewerage system other than in compliance with a trade waste agreement.

Part B – How to contact us

You can contact us by:

1. Telephone

Ring our Customer Centre on 1300 656 007:

  • for billing, connection, trade waste and general enquiries, between 8 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday; and
  • for drinking water, non-drinking water and recycled water supplies, sewerage service difficulties and faults, and customers supplied with water under a separate agreement, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

2. Email

Email to info@barwonwater.vic.gov.au

3. Mail

Write to Barwon Water, PO Box 659, Geelong VIC 3220

4. Website access

You can visit www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au to access information on a wide range of service topics, including:

  • details about how your services may be affected and any penalties that may apply under our by-laws for applicable drought, emergency and our permanent water saving plan
  • our pricing
  • on-line applications
  • information referred to in clause 14. of this charter
  • water storage levels
  • trade waste
  • recycled water
  • other information.

Part C – Standards and conditions of service and supply

1. Connection and service provision

Obligation to provide service

If your property is connected to our systems, we will provide the relevant service in accordance with the Commission’s Customer Service Code, this customer charter, the terms and conditions of your separate written agreement (including trade waste) and the Water Act 1989.

New connections

Subject to the Water Act 1989, when you request connection to our services and it is available, we will connect or approve a connection to your property within 10 business days, or such later date as agreed, if:

  • you have paid or agreed to pay all applicable connection fees;
  • you have complied with all reasonable terms and conditions of connection imposed by us.

Recycled water

Customers supplied with both drinking water and recycled water have a dual water supply system. This means that one pipe entering your property delivers water for drinking, bathing and washing purposes and a second (purple) pipe delivers recycled water for toilet flushing and external garden use. Both these pipes will have had a full system integrity check when recycled water was first supplied to ensure there are no cross-connections between the drinking water and recycled water supplies.

If recycled water is supplied to your property, you must comply with the permitted uses for recycled water and make sure you inform all users and visitors of the permitted uses and potential hazards associated with the service. This helps to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your visitors. We will keep you regularly informed about the permitted uses of recycled water and notify you if any changes are made. The limits on the permitted use of recycled water are available at www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au or you can contact us on 1300 007 656. We reserve the right to restrict your supply of recycled water if you do not comply with the permitted uses.

Please note: state government legislation requires that a licensed plumber must conduct all plumbing work.

We also advise to conduct an annual cross-connection check, particularly after any plumbing works have been undertaken on your property, to ensure that recycled water pipes and drinking water pipes are not crossed. We will make sure to send you an annual reminder to conduct the test and provide you with instructions to help guide you through the process. Our instructions are also available at www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au or you can contact us on 1300 007 656.

If you are a new recycled water customer, we will send you a copy of the permitted uses and cross-connection instructions within five days of confirmation you are a customer.

Limits on non-drinking water services

We may refuse to provide a non-drinking water service if you have not entered into a non-drinking water agreement with us or otherwise received our consent. We may discontinue a non-drinking water service if you breach the permitted use rules.

We will advise you of the requirements for entering into a non-drinking water agreement at your request.

2. Charges

Variation

We may, subject to the Water Act 1989, approved service standards and any relevant determination of the Commission, vary charges to you. If we do so:

  • we will notify you of any variation in our charges on or with the first bill after the decision to vary the charges has been made;
  • where the variation in charges falls within a billing period, we may calculate the charge on a pro rata basis.

Schedule of charges

We will publish a schedule of fees and charges on our website and provide a copy to you on request.

Water and sewerage charges

We bill on ‘user pays’ pricing principles as set out below:

  • water charges are:
    • water service charge – the fixed quarterly charge billed to the owner of every property or dwelling connected to the water supply system; and
    • water volume charge – the price per kilolitre (1,000 litres) of water delivered to your property as measured by the water meter;
    • recycled water volume – the price per kilolitre (1,000 litres) of recycled water delivered to your property as measured by the purple water meter;
  • the sewerage service charge is the fixed quarterly charge billed to the owner of every property or dwelling connected to our sewerage system.

If you are supplied with water under a separate written agreement you will be billed as follows:

  • Water service charge
    • if you receive a treated water supply, the water service charge is set at 85 per cent of the water service charge for declared serviced properties; and
    • if you receive an untreated water supply, the water service charge is set at 70 per cent of the water service charge for declared serviced properties.
  • Water volume charge
    • if you receive a treated water supply, the water volume charge is the same charge set for declared serviced properties which also receive a fully treated water supply; and
    • if you receive an untreated water supply, the water volume charge is set at 70 per cent of the water volume charged for fully treated water.
  • When we agree to supply a water service to you under a separate written agreement, you will be billed a once only new customer contribution charge if the property has not previously been connected to our water supply system.

Trade waste charges will be billed to customers who discharge trade waste to our sewerage system.

We will only impose fees and charges in connection with trade waste in accordance with the prices and pricing principles set out in the price determination made for us by the Commission.

Our approved pricing schedule for trade waste is available on our website.

3. Enquiries, complaints and disputes

Enquiry, complaint and dispute handling policy

We recognise that to successfully deliver outstanding customer service, we must be committed to effectively receive and handle complaints. We aim to resolve your issues at your first point of contact. If we can’t, we have a robust and transparent process for escalating complaints and resolving disputes.

Our enquiry, complaint and dispute handling policy provides that:

  • we will do our best to resolve any enquiry, complaint or dispute at the first point of contact, however, if a written reply is requested, we will respond within 10 business days;
  • a reply to an enquiry or complaint will deal with the substance of the enquiry or complaint or, if the enquiry or complaint is complex, advise when a reply will be received;
  • the reasons for our decision will be provided, including details of any applicable legislative or policy basis for the decision, if appropriate; and
  • the complaint resolution process will give you:
    • the opportunity to refer the complaint to our Customer Liaison Co-ordinator if you are not satisfied with the way your enquiry or complaint was handled, or are not satisfied with the outcome. The Customer Liaison Co-ordinator will not have been involved in the initial response to your complaint and has the delegated authority to review our response.

      You can contact us by writing to:

      Customer Liaison Co-ordinator
      Barwon Water
      PO Box 659
      Geelong VIC 3220

      Email: info@barwonwater.vic.gov.au

      Telephone: 1300 656 007
    • information about referral to EWOV and any other relevant external dispute resolution forum in the event that you have raised the complaint with our Customer Liaison Co-ordinator and are still not satisfied with our response;

      Energy and water Ombudsman Victoria contact details
  • we will not take action to recover an amount of money which is in dispute until the dispute has been resolved;
  • the customer/complainant is informed of the matters above.

Our enquiry, complaint and dispute handling policy is available online or by request.

Resolution of disputes

We will try to resolve any dispute directly with you.

We will consider a dispute about an unpaid bill resolved if:

  • we have informed you of our decision or any internal review of your complaint; and
  • 10 working days have passed since you were informed of that decision; and
  • you have not:
    • asked for a further review; or
    • lodged a claim with EWOV or another dispute resolution forum.

We will not consider a dispute resolved until any claim lodged with EWOV or another dispute resolution forum has been finalised.

4. Billing

Billing cycle

We will issue bills quarterly or more frequently if agreed with you.

We may bill commercial customers or other customers with high water usage, high trade waste or sewage disposal more frequently.

Meter readings

We aim to ensure that all meters are read every billing cycle, or at least once every 12 months.

Special meter readings or estimated readings

At your request, we will determine your outstanding charges outside of the normal billing cycle within the period (if any) specified by the Water Act 1989.

We will calculate the outstanding charges by:

  • arranging for a special meter reading at a reasonable charge payable by you; or
  • where permitted by the Water Act 1989, providing an estimated bill at no cost.

Issue of bills

We will issue a bill to:

  • you, at an address specified by you; or
  • your agent at an address specified by you, if you have made a written request to us; or
  • any person authorised to act on your behalf at the address specified by that person.

If no address has been specified, we will send the bill to the physical address of the property in respect of which the charges have been incurred, or to your last known address.

Content of bills

All bills issued will contain the following information:

  • date of issue;
  • the billing address and account number;
  • the address of the property to which the charges in the bill relate;
  • details of the meter reading including the meter number and the date on which the meter was read, or if the reading is an estimate, a clear statement to that effect;
  • the amount required to be paid;
  • the date by which you are required to pay;
  • the various ways in which the bill can be paid;
  • information about help that is available if you are experiencing difficulties paying the bill;
  • details on how to contact our Customer Centre, including the 24-hour service difficulties and faults telephone number;
  • referral to interpreter services;
  • any outstanding credit or debit amounts from previous bills;
  • the total of any payments made by you since the last bill was issued;
  • information on concessions available and, if you are registered as a concession card holder, any concession to which you may be entitled;
  • the average daily rate of water use at your property for the current quarter; and
  • if we intend to charge interest on any outstanding amount, the rate of interest and from what future date it is to be applied.

Presentation of charges

We will separately list each charge on the bill.

Presentation of water usage

A graph showing your current water usage will be displayed on the bill, to the extent the data is available:

  • your drinking water, non-drinking water or recycled water usage for each quarter over the past year; and
  • a comparison of your usage for the same period of the previous year.

(Note: If a property is occupied by a tenant, this information will only be displayed on the tenant’s bill.)

Adjustment of bills

We may recover from you an amount undercharged if:

  • the amount to be recovered is limited to the amount undercharged in the 12-months prior to you being notified that undercharging has occurred; and
  • the amount to be recovered is listed as a separate item and is explained on or with your bill; and
  • we allow you to pay the amount to be recovered over a maximum of 12-months; and
  • we allow you to pay the amount to be recovered through a flexible payment plan.

We may identify an amount undercharged as a result of the illegal use of drinking water, non-drinking water or recycled water by estimating, in accordance with the Water Act 1989, the usage you have not paid.

In respect of the amount undercharged, we may exercise other rights available to us including rights under clause 8.

If we overcharge you, we will:

  • inform you of the situation within 10 business days of becoming aware of the error; and
  • refund or credit the amount overcharged in accordance with your instructions.

Multiple bills

If you own multiple properties across our service area, you will be issued with a separate bill for each property during the billing cycle.

Shared private extension billing arrangements

Where water is supplied to you through a private extension that also supplies water to other customers, and the volume of water recorded by the master meter is more than the total volume of water recorded by all meters placed along the line serving each individual customer connected to the private extension, we will:

  • pro-rata, bill everybody taking water through the private extension for the cost of the variation;
  • where we make an unequal share of the cost of the water to you, we will bill the sum so determined.

5. Payments

Due date for payment

We will give you 28 days from the date of issue to pay our bills.

Payment methods

We will accept payment from you:

  • by a direct debit arrangement in accordance with an agreement between Barwon Water, you and your bank. If you would like to set up a direct debit, please call 1300 656 007 for further details. We do not require you to agree to direct debit payments as a condition of service;
  • by BPAY - Biller Code 585224, Customer Reference: unique number as shown on bill;
  • by mail addressed to: Barwon Water, PO Box 14206, Melbourne City MC, VIC 8001
  • Centrelink recipients can arrange automatic payments through Centrepay. Call 1300 656 007 for further details;
  • through Australia Post:
    • any Australia Post Office – Biller Code: 0803, Customer ID: unique number as shown on bill;
    • online at www.postbillpay.com.au
    • over the phone on 131 816
  • in advance; and
  • any other option shown on your account.

6. Customer assistance

If you’re having difficulty paying your bill – get in touch, we’re here to help. We offer a number of customer support options and programs, and can tailor an option to suit your individual needs. We offer the following bill payment programs to assist you.

Flexible payment plans

We will provide flexible payment plans in accordance with your capacity to pay. A flexible payment plan will:

  • show how the amount of the payments has been calculated; and
  • state the period over which you pay the amounts agreed; and
  • specify an amount to be paid; and
  • be renegotiated at your request if there is a demonstrable change in your circumstances; and
  • be confirmed in writing to you as soon as possible after the flexible payment plan commences.

We may not offer you a flexible payment plan if you have, in the previous 12-months, had 2 flexible payment plans cancelled due to non-payment, unless you provide a fair and reasonable assurance (based on the circumstances) to us that you will comply with the plan.

Payment difficulties

Subject to the Water Act 1989, we will assist people with payment difficulties on a case-by-case basis by:

  • making alternative payment arrangements in accordance with capacity to pay, including:
    • offering a range of payment options, such as flexible payments; or
    • re-directing the bill to another person for payment, provided that person agrees in writing.
  • providing a written confirmation of an alternative payment method within 10 working days of agreement being reached;
  • offering to extend the due date for some or all of an amount owed;
  • informing you of any circumstance in which we will waive or suspend interest payments on outstanding amounts;
  • where appropriate, referring you to:
    • government funded assistance programs (including the Utility Relief Grant Scheme); or
    • a free, independent financial counsellor.

Hardship policy

We’re committed to helping our customers in financial hardship reduce their debt and meet future payments. We have a customer support policy for customers in financial hardship who have difficulty paying their bills. Our customer support policy applies to residential customers who are identified either by themselves, our officers or an independent accredited financial counsellor as having the intention but not the financial capacity to make the required payments in accordance with our payment terms.

Without limiting this general obligation, our customer support policy will:

  • provide internal assessment processes:
    • to determine eligibility using objective criteria as indicators of hardship; and
    • to make an early identification of hardship; and
    • to determine responsibilities for the management, development, communication and monitoring of the policy.
  • provide for staff training about our policies and procedures and ensure anyone in hardship is treated with sensitivity and without value judgements being made;
  • exempt people in hardship from supply restriction, legal action, and additional debt recovery costs – including waiving any interest accrued prior to identification and during the period of hardship - while payments are made to us according to an agreed flexible payment plan or other payment schedule;
  • state any circumstances where we will waive or suspend interest payments (if any) on outstanding amounts;
  • offer a range of payment options in accordance with your capacity to pay;
  • provide for written confirmation of any alternative payment method to be sent to you within 10 business days of an agreement being reached;
  • offer information and referral to government assistance programs (including the Utility Relief Grant Scheme) and no-cost independent financial counsellors;
  • offer information about our dispute resolution policy, and your right to lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman, Victoria scheme (EWOV) and any other relevant external dispute resolution forum if your hardship claim is not resolved to your satisfaction by us;
  • offer information on how to reduce water usage and improve water efficiency and referral to relevant government water efficiency programs;
  • detail the circumstances in which the hardship policy will cease to apply; and
  • provide for a review mechanism of the hardship policy and its associated procedures.

Our customer support policy for customers who experience financial hardship is available online or by request. This policy was previously known as the ‘Policy for customers in financial hardship’.

Family violence policy

We’re committed to providing confidential and respectful assistance to customers experiencing family violence. We developed a family violence policy for customers experiencing family violence, with the safety of our customers and employees being paramount.

Our family violence policy applies to any customer who is identified either by themselves, community agencies or our officers as possibly being affected by family violence.

Without limiting this general obligation, our family violence policy will:

  • provide that all relevant staff have ongoing training to:
    • identify customers affected by family violence;
    • deal appropriately with customers affected by family violence; and
    • apply our family violence policy and related policies and procedures to customers affected by family violence.
  • promote safety by providing for the secure handling of information about those affected by family violence, in a manner that maintains confidentiality;
  • specify our approach to debt management and recovery where you are affected by family violence, including, but not limited to:
    • the recovery of debt from those with joint accounts; and
    • the circumstances in which debt will be suspended or waived;
  • recognise family violence as a potential cause of payment difficulties and as an eligibility criterion for access to our hardship policy and address what payment support will apply to customers affected by family violence;
  • provide a process that avoids repeat disclosure of family violence and provides for continuity of service;
  • provide a means for referring anybody who may be affected by family violence to external assistance.

Our policy for customers experiencing family violence is available online or by request.

Our website also has information regarding the assistance and referrals available and how such assistance can be accessed.

We will ensure that the family violence policy is periodically reviewed to ensure that it and associated procedures remains up to date.

We also have a separate family violence policy that applies to staff affected by family violence, including training, leave, external referrals and counselling available.

Life support machines concession

The Victorian Government provides concessions for volume charges associated with the operation of certain life support machines including haemodialysis machines.

In recognition of the special health needs of people utilising haemodialysis machines, we provide a further concession of fifty per cent off the remaining volume charges. The concession is credited to your account provided you are registered with us as using a haemodialysis machine.

Severe medical condition concession

We will grant a concession of 20 per cent reduction in water volume to anyone who has a severe medical condition that requires them to undergo frequent bathing, resulting in above average water consumption.

To be eligible for this concession, you must provide us with a doctor’s certificate confirming the need for frequent bathing associated with the treatment of the severe medical condition.

The concession will be credited to your account.

Undetectable leak concession

We may grant eligible customers a once in 5-year reduction for water volume charges where evidence is provided that an undetectable leak has occurred (typically leaks from a property service pipe below ground, under concrete or under a building) resulting in an excessively high bill.

To be eligible for the concession:

  • repairs must be completed within 14 days of you becoming aware of the leak;
  • repairs must be undertaken by a registered plumber; and
  • you must supply us with a paid plumber’s invoice detailing the fault and repairs undertaken.

The concession for undetectable leakage will be determined by comparing the water volume shown on the current bill with the average water volume for the same quarter in the 3 previous years.

We will adjust the water volume by 50 per cent of the difference between the volume shown on the current bill and the average volume for the 3 previous years.

National Cabinet coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Policy and Principles – April 2020 (National Principles)

The National Cabinet coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Policy and Principles outlines support for households and small businesses facing hardship as a result of coronavirus in paying for essential services.

To protect both residential and small businesses experiencing financial stress, hardship support by essential service providers (energy, water and telecommunications providers, and local governments) should:

  • Adhere to the following nationally consistent principles, which builds on actions required or sought for residential and small business customers in the energy and telecommunications sectors;
  • Align with nationally consistent approaches to identifying those in financial stress. For example, businesses that qualify for the JobKeeper Payment are defined as being under financial stress under this arrangement; and
  • Focus on keeping those facing hardship connected and working to find a mutually sustainable solution to enable households and businesses to rebuild on the other side.

Customers who can pay their bills should continue to do so, to help ensure the continued financial viability of essential service providers.

These principles aim to promote consistency across sectors and jurisdictions, including for eligibility to hardship programs, and ensure an appropriate safety net is in place for vulnerable families and businesses during the economic shock caused by coronavirus. These principles are in addition to existing policies and requirements, which may apply to these sectors.

Support Principles

  1. Encourage customers to contact their service providers at the earliest opportunity to discuss their situation.
  2. Establish clear processes to identify, and to promptly and appropriately manage, households and small businesses experiencing financial stress, including small businesses eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, such as customers who:
    1. Repeatedly fail to pay bills on time
    2. Submit questions or issues to customer service centres.
  3. Offer households and small businesses that indicate they may be in financial stress, including small businesses eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, the option of going on a payment plan and/or other flexible options including bill smoothing, flexible repayment options, payment deferrals, extensions and access to Centrepay or other payment services.
  4. Be prepared to modify existing payment plans if a customer’s changed circumstances make this necessary.
  5. Do not disconnect or restrict supply to households or small businesses in financial stress, including small businesses eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.
  6. Defer referrals of households and small businesses in financial stress, including small businesses eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, for debt recovery/collection proceedings and credit default listings.
  7. Suspend sale of debt while there is an arrangement in place with a customer under a hardship policy.
  8. Waive late fees, interest charges and charges for collection of overdue amounts for households and small businesses in financial stress, including small businesses eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.
  9. Provide clear, up-to-date and readily available information about arrangements available to those in financial stress via multiple physical and digital communication channels.
  10. Provide advice to households and small business customers about appropriate government concession programs and financial counselling services, and strategies to reduce their bills, and/or consumption of the service, in order to reduce future payment difficulties.
  11. Minimise the frequency and duration of planned outages for critical works, and provide as much notice as possible to assist households and businesses during any outage.

7. Collection

Reminder notice

If you fail to pay by the due date stated on the bill, we will send a reminder notice (in the same manner in which we sent the bill).

Warning notice

At least 7 days prior to taking action for non-payment, we will send a payment warning notice (in the same manner we sent the bill) that:

  • specifies any assistance that is available to you, including information about EWOV (including EWOV’s telephone number) and our customer support policy; and
  • advises you that the bill is overdue and must be paid for you to avoid legal action or supply restriction; and
  • cautions that, if legal or restriction action is taken, you may incur additional costs in relation to those actions;
  • specifies the date from which and the rate at which interest (if any) will be applied on outstanding amounts; and
  • specifies that we might be able to recover outstanding amounts at the time of any sale of your property, if you are the property owner.

Additional content of reminders and warning notices

A reminder notice and a warning notice under clause will contain all of the information listed in clause 4, except information about meter readings, usage, previous bills or past payments.

Interest on overdue amounts

From 1 July 2013 we may charge interest on any overdue amount if:

  • we have advised you by notice in or with your bill that interest will be applied 14 days after the amount outstanding is due to be paid by you;
  • the notice advises that if an amount due remains unpaid after the date fixed by the notice, interest will accrue from the date the amount is due; and
  • any part of the amount payable by you is not paid by the date fixed in the notice.

We will not charge interest on overdue amounts if you hold an eligible concession card or the debt accrued prior to 1 July 2013.

Maximum rate of interest that may be charged

The maximum rate of interest that may be charged on unrecovered amounts is:

  • an annual rate set by the Commission each May based on the 10-year Australian Commonwealth Government Bond Rate plus a margin to be determined by the Commission; and
  • interest starts accruing on the day the amount is due and ends on the date all unrecovered amounts of the debt are paid in full, both days inclusive.

Dishonoured payment

We may recover from you an amount charged by our financial institution due to:

  • a cheque being dishonoured; or
  • insufficient funds being available when paying by direct debit.

Other charges

We will not impose other charges in respect of outstanding amounts owed by you unless approved by the Commission.

8. Actions for non-payment

Restriction and legal action

As a last resort, we may take legal action or restrict your water supply for non-payment if:

  • more than 14 days have elapsed since the issue of a reminder notice to you referred to in clause 7;
  • more than 7 days have elapsed since the issue of the warning notice to you referred to in clause 7, including information on our hardship policy and other programs that are available to help with payment difficulties; and
  • we or our agent has attempted to make contact with you by telephone, letter or in person, about the non-payment; and
  • you have been notified of the proposed restriction or legal action and the associated costs, including the cost of removing the restriction device; and
  • you have:
    • been offered a flexible payment plan and have refused or failed to respond; or
    • agreed to a flexible payment plan and have failed to comply with the arrangement.

Limits on restriction and legal action

We will not commence legal action or take steps to restrict your service due to non-payment if:

  • the amount owed by you is less than $200, unless you have failed to pay consecutive bills in full over a period of 12 months; or
  • you are eligible for and have lodged an application for an eligible concession card and the application is outstanding; or
  • you have made an application under the Utility Relief Grant Scheme and the application is outstanding; or
  • you are a tenant and:
    • the amount unpaid is owed by the landlord; or
    • you have a claim against the landlord in respect of a water bill pending at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal; or
  • the amount in dispute is subject to an unresolved complaint procedure in accordance with our complaints policy.

This clause does not restrict our rights under the Water Act 1989 to pursue a debt owed to us by you if you are no longer a customer.

Additional limits on restriction

We will not take steps to restrict your service due to non-payment if:

  • it is a Friday, public holiday, weekend, day before a public holiday, or after 3.00 pm; or
  • you are registered as a special needs customer under clause 10; or
  • we believe that the restriction will cause a health hazard having taken into consideration your concerns; or
  • it is a day of total fire ban declared by the Country Fire Authority in the area in which the property is located.

A restriction under clause 8 may reduce the supply of water to no less than 2 litres per minute at the tap nearest the meter.

Removal of restrictions

We will restore a restricted service or services within 24-hours of becoming aware that the reason for the restriction no longer exists.

We may impose a charge to cover our costs for the removal of a restriction.

9. Quality of services

Guaranteed service level rebates

We offer the following guaranteed service level rebates as a demonstration of our commitment to ensuring that excellent customer service is our goal:

Water supply reliability guarantee

Subject to the exclusions listed below, if there are more than 5 unplanned interruptions to the services supplying water to your property in any 12-month period, your account will be credited with $88 as soon as possible.

Sewerage service reliability guarantee

On notification from you of an unplanned interruption to the sewerage service at your property, we will attend and reinstate the service.

Subject to the exclusions listed below, if there are more than 3 unplanned interruptions to the sewerage service to your property from our system in any 12-month period, your account will be credited with $88 as soon as possible

Subject to the exclusions listed below, if there are more than 2 sewer spills from our system on to your property in any 12-month period, your account will be credited with $675 as soon as possible.

Hardship related guarantee

If we restrict your water supply or take legal action against you prior to making reasonable efforts to contact you and provide information about help that is available if you are experiencing difficulties paying your bill, your account will be credited with $404 as soon as possible.

Exclusions for guaranteed service level guarantee

We will not make a credit to your account for failure to meet a guaranteed service level if an event is caused by, or is the responsibility of, you or a third party.

Where a property is occupied by a tenant and the tenant is a customer, only the tenant’s account will be credited for our failure to meet a guaranteed service level.

If you are supplied with water by a separate written agreement, this clause does not apply. Refer to the terms and conditions set out in your agreement – see Part E for details.

Sewer Spill Investigation Program

We will investigate any sewer incident that affects your property and, where there has been a failure of our sewer system, we will place an ex gratia sewer incident credit on your account totalling 50% of the annual residential sewer service charge.

We will not make a credit to your account if our investigation reveals that an event is caused by, or is the responsibility of, you or a third party.

Where a property is occupied by a tenant and the tenant is a customer, only the tenant’s account will be credited for the failure of our sewer system.

Product quality

In addition to complying with the requirements of health and environmental regulation, we will provide services in accordance with service standards set out in our Water Plan approved by the Commission.

If you are supplied with water under a separate agreement, we will provide a water supply in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in that agreement. Refer to Part E for details.

Delivery quality (flow rates)

We will ensure that your drinking water, non-drinking water and recycled water supplies are at least equal to the minimum flow rates set out in the table at the rear of this Charter, except to the extent that:

  • your infrastructure falls short of the required condition;
  • the service is provided via a private extension or a separate written agreement;
  • there is a drought or an emergency beyond our control including sabotage, fire, flood, power shortage, extreme rain event, industrial action;
  • there is a water shortage due to peak summer demand;
  • there is an unplanned or planned interruption;
  • there is a reduction to the non-drinking water or recycled water supplied due to shortage or in accordance with our regulations around use;
  • supply is restricted or disconnected in accordance with this charter; or
  • the Water Act 1989 allows.

The flow rate will be measured at the meter or the tap nearest the meter assembly.

Testing

Upon your request, we will test for:

  • meter accuracy, for compliance with the Utility Meters (Metrological Controls) Act 2002 and the National Measurement Regulation 1999 (Cth);
  • flow rates and water quality for compliance with clause 9. This does not apply if you are supplied with water under a separate written agreement. Refer to Part E.

In addition, we:

  • will advise you prior to any test that a reasonable charge may be imposed if the test demonstrates compliance with clause 9;
  • will pay the cost of a test if the test demonstrates that we are not complying with clause 9;
  • may impose a reasonable charge on you in the event the test demonstrates compliance with clause 9.

Rectification

We will rectify any deficiency in satisfying clause 9 as soon as possible, or within a time agreed with you.

10. Reliability of services

Clause 10 does not apply to customers provided with water under a separate written agreement. Refer to your agreement or Part E of this Charter.

Obligation to provide reliable services

Subject to our Statement of Obligations, we will develop and implement plans, systems and processes to manage our assets to provide reliable services.

Unplanned interruptions - response

We will comply with the approved service standards set out in our Water Plan and approved by the Commission.

A full list of our approved service standards is included at the rear of this charter.

We have policies, practices and procedures:

  • to minimise the impact of unplanned interruptions to services on you (including restoration of service and the provision of information, as soon as possible); and
  • to provide you with access to emergency supplies of drinking water in the event of an unplanned interruption to water services.

Bursts, leaks, blockages and spills

In the event of a burst, leak or blockage in our drinking water, non-drinking water, recycled water supplies, or sewerage systems, we will:

  • upon notification, promptly attend the site
  • take action to rectify the situation taking into account the potential or actual impact on:
    • you
    • others affected by the failure
    • property; and
    • the environment.
  • provide information about any unplanned interruption to a service through a 24-hour telephone facility which advises callers of the estimated duration of any interruption
  • ensure that, in the event of a sewage spill on your property, damage and inconvenience to you and others affected is minimised; and
  • ensure that a sewage spill is promptly cleaned up and the affected area is disinfected.

Planned interruptions – information and response

We will inform you in writing of the time and length of any planned interruption to services at least two working days in advance.

We have policies, practices and procedures in relation to providing you with access to emergency supplies of drinking water in the event of a planned interruption to drinking water or recycled water services.

Special needs

We will keep an up to date register of people who require drinking water for:

  • the operation of a life-support machine; or
  • other special needs that may be assessed on a case-by-case basis by us.

We will contact anybody registered:

  • as soon as possible in the event of an unplanned interruption to a service; and
  • at least 4 business days before a planned interruption unless a longer period of notice is requested by you, in which case longer notice will be given if it is reasonably necessary and able to be accommodated by us.

In all cases, we will endeavour to minimise inconvenience to you.

11. Reconnection

Clause 11 does not apply to customers provided with water under a separate written agreement.

We will promptly reconnect your property if it has been disconnected upon:

  • the reason for disconnection no longer existing; or
  • receipt of a written undertaking as to compliance by you in a form acceptable to us; and
  • payment by you of any reasonable charge imposed by us.

12. Works and maintenance

Clause 12 does not apply to customers provided with water under a separate written agreement.

Subject to the Water Act 1989, we will implement programs to maintain our systems in accordance with approved service standards.

Water Service Pipes

Our maintenance obligations

In addition to this general system obligation, we will maintain the water service pipe from our water main up to:

  • the first water meter installed after the water main; or
  • the property boundary if the first water meter is more than two metres inside the property boundary or there is no accessible stop valve; or
  • the first accessible stop valve where the first water meter or part of the water service pipe is within or beneath the walls of a structure built on the serviced property or where there is no water meter.
Your maintenance obligations

Subject to the Water Act 1989, you are responsible for:

  • parts of the water service pipe that we are not responsible for maintaining under items (a) to (c) above;
  • back flow prevention devices;
  • fire services;
  • private extensions or trunk services, or water service pipes from private extensions; and
  • the installation, maintenance, repair and replacement of any meter pit, pit lid or meter cage.

An ‘accessible stop valve’ means a stop valve that is placed above ground or is placed below ground within a stop valve cover approved by us.

If you are supplied with a water supply under a separate written agreement, you are responsible for:

  • the maintenance (including replacement) of a backflow prevention device installed at the outlet of the meter;
  • the maintenance (including replacement) of a private fire service;
  • the maintenance (including replacement) of any private extension or trunk service or property service pipes from private extensions.

Sewer Connection Drains

Our maintenance obligations

Subject to the Water Act 1989, if the sewer main is located inside the property boundary, we will maintain the sewer connection drain from our sewer main up to:

  • the first inspection opening installed after the sewer main; or
  • one metre from the sewer main if the first inspection opening is located more than one meter from the sewer main; or
  • one metre from the sewer main if there is no inspection opening.

If the sewer main is located outside the property boundary, we will maintain the sewer connection drain from our sewer main up to:

  • the first inspection opening installed inside the property boundary; or
  • one metre inside the property boundary if the first inspection opening is located more than one metre inside the property boundary; or
  • one metre inside the property boundary if there is no inspection opening located within the property boundary; or
  • one metre from a structure where an inspection opening is not installed inside the property due to the close proximity of the structure to the property boundary.
Your maintenance obligations

Subject to the Water Act 1989, you are responsible for:

  • parts of the sewer connection drain that we are not responsible for maintaining under items (a) to (d) above;
  • combined sewer connection drains located on another serviced property; or
  • sewer connection drains from private extensions.

If you experience problems with water or sewer services, you are encouraged to contact us for advice (phone 1300 656 007).

Pressure Sewerage Systems

Our maintenance obligations

If your property is serviced by a pressure sewerage system owned by us, we are responsible for maintaining the pump unit and all works from the unit to our sewer.

Your maintenance obligations

You are responsible for maintaining all sewerage works on your property beyond the pump unit. You are also required to maintain the power supply, the independent circuit-breaker and the power cable to the pump unit control panel on your property and to pay electricity charges for operating the pump unit.

The relevant conditions of connection are set out in the Occupier’s Manual that is issued to all residents and is also available on our website.

Worker identification

Our representative(s) will not enter your property without appropriate identification.

Any representative(s) entering a property except for the purpose of reading an accessible meter, will either:

  • notify anybody present of the purpose for entry; or
  • if nobody is present, leave a notice stating their identity, and the date, time and purpose of entry.
Keys held by Barwon Water

If we hold keys to your premises, the keys will be held in safe custody and returned to you upon notification of you leaving the relevant property or if access is no longer required.

13. Permanent water saving rules

Our community recognises water is a precious resource and shouldn’t be wasted. The permanent water saving rules (PWSR) are a set of simple, common-sense rules to reduce demand and make sure we all use water wisely.

The permanent water saving rules are always in place, and are uniform across Victoria.

The rules apply to drinking water only. They do not apply to greywater, tank water (rainwater), bore water or recycled water. While the rules are only applicable to drinking water, other water sources (non-drinking water and recycled water) should never be wasted.

You must comply with the following permanent water saving rules.

Schedule 1

Use Permanent water saving rules

Hand-held hose

Water from a hand-held hose must not be used for any purpose (whether or not the use is subject to a permanent water saving rule) at any time unless the hose:

  • is fitted with a trigger nozzle; and
  • is leak-free.

Residential or commercial gardens and lawns

A residential or commercial garden or lawn area cannot be watered except:

  • with a hand-held hose, bucket or watering can at any time; or
  • by means of a watering system between the hours of 6 pm and 10 am on any day.

Public gardens and lawns and playing surfaces

A public garden, lawn area or a playing surface cannot be watered except:

  • with a hand-held hose, bucket or watering can at any time; or
  • by means of a watering system fitted with a rain or soil moisture sensor between the hours of 6 pm and 10 am on any day; or
  • in accordance with an approved Water Use Plan.

Fountains and water features

Water cannot be used in a fountain or a water feature unless the fountain or water feature recirculates the water.

Cleaning of hard surfaces

Water cannot be used to clean hard surfaces (including driveways, paths, concrete, tiles, timber decking) except:

  • where cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard, safety hazard or other emergency; or
  • if staining to the surface has developed and then only once a season; or
  • in the course of construction or renovation, and then only by means of:
  • a high pressure water cleaning device; or
  • if such a device is not available, a hand-held hose or a bucket.

14. Penalties for contravening restrictions in PWSRs

Permanent water saving rules are enforced under the Water Act 1989.

Penalties apply for breaches.

A full copy of our Permanent Water Saving Plan is available on our website.

15. Information

Enquiries

We will provide the following information to you through our Customer Centre by telephone on 1300 656 007 or by email, mail or website as set out in Part B of this charter:

  • account information;
  • bill payment options;
  • concession entitlements;
  • programs available to those who are having payment difficulties, including our hardship policy;
  • information about our complaint handling procedures;
  • information about EWOV;
  • information about water conservation, water restrictions and relevant by-laws including penalties for infringement; and
  • information on the matters set out in clause 14 of this charter.

Fees for providing information or advice

Unless stated otherwise in this charter, we will not charge a fee for information or advice required under this charter to you or others affected by our operations.

Permitted use

We will regularly inform you of any limits on the permitted use of drinking water, recycled water, non-drinking water and our sewerage service, which at least reflect health and environmental regulations and clause 1.3 in respect of recycled water.

Trade waste

We will comply with the requirements in our Trade Waste Customer Charter in relation to the provision of information to trade waste customers. Refer to Part D of this Charter.

Sustainable use of water

We will provide information to you about the sustainable use of Victoria’s water resources and how you can conserve water.

Billing history

Upon your request, we will provide your account and usage history for the preceding three years within 10 business days, or other period by agreement.

We may impose a reasonable charge for providing your account and usage history held beyond three years in accordance with the relevant Public Record Office Standard General Disposal Schedule or the Records of Water authorities.

We may refuse to provide this information where it is contrary to the procedures in our family violence policy and is not in breach of law.

Regulatory information

Upon request, we will provide you with any regulatory instruments other than primary legislation under which we operate, including a copy of the “Customer Service Code – Urban Water Businesses” issued by the Commission.

Communication assistance

We will provide you with access to a free:

  • interpreter service for non-English speaking customers – call 131 450; and
  • a TTY service for speech and hearing impaired customers – call 133 677.

Upon request we will publish and provide a copy of our Customer Charter in languages other than English to the extent required under the guidelines issued by the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.

General customer obligations

You have certain obligations under the Water Act 1989 and, if relevant, your separate written agreement for the supply of water. Some of these obligations include but are not limited to:

  • giving us at least 48-hours’ notice of vacating any property or paying charges incurred after vacating a property, up to the day of the next meter reading;
  • ensuring that the water meter is accessible;
  • upon notice by us, maintaining your infrastructure;
  • removing trees upon our request;
  • seeking our consent for any building or construction work which might interfere with our services;
  • not altering any works connected to our works without our consent; and
  • observing the water restrictions that are in place in accordance with the Water Act 1989.

If you are supplied with water under a separate written agreement, you are also obliged to:

  • inform any future owner or occupier of your property or any part of that property that the supply of water to the property is by agreement with us and does not run with the new property-owner;
  • the new owner or occupier will need to make an application to us to seek our consent to supply a water service under a separate written agreement;
  • if water is supplied through a private extension owned by a third party, the new owner or occupier will need to deal with the owner of that private extension in relation to its continued use to convey water to the property.

We will use reasonable endeavours to keep you informed of your obligations under the Water Act 1989.

Privacy

We comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the 10 information privacy principles established under the Act.

We also comply with the Health Records Act 2001 and the health privacy principles contained therein.

A full copy of our Privacy Charter is available online or by request.

Part D – Trade waste requirements

If your business is involved in manufacturing, food preparation or other commercial processes that generate wastewater, you need to apply to us for consent to discharge your trade waste into our sewerage system.

This is because trade waste contains chemicals, grease, oils, solids and other substances that need to be properly managed to protect the health and safety of employees, customers, the general community and the environment.

1. Application to discharge trade waste

Consider application

We will consider all applications for the discharge of trade waste to the sewerage system.

An application must include:

  • a completed application form entitled Application Form (Trade Waste Agreement or Trade Waste Permit);
  • where applicable, payment of the application fee; and
  • supporting information specified in the application form.

An application form, together with any relevant documentation can be obtained by us on 1300 656 007.

Prior to lodging an application, please contact us to discuss the application to ensure that all required information is provided and to obtain assistance on the preparation of the application, if required.

Response to application

We will provide a response to all applications for a Trade Waste Agreement within 10 working days of receiving the application advising:

  • whether the application has been accepted or rejected or accepted with amendments; or
  • where a longer period is required to assess the application, when a decision will be made and an explanation for the longer period; or
  • where further information is required to enable a full assessment, what further information must be provided by the applicant.

Rejecting an application

If we provide a notice of rejection under clause 1, we will also provide reasons for the rejection.

2. Classification of trade waste customers

We will conduct a risk assessment for all applications to discharge trade waste to the sewerage system in accordance with the Trade Waste Management Policy. Our Trade Waste Management Policy is available online or by request.

The risk assessment enables us to determine the degree of risk your trade waste poses to our sewerage facilities and to categorise customers accordingly.

Classification requirement and purpose

Customers holding an existing Trade Waste Agreement with us need not reapply as a result of the introduction of this Charter and will retain their existing trade waste classification.

We will assess all new applications for the discharge of trade waste to the sewerage system in accordance with the Trade Waste Management Policy.

In doing so, we will classify trade waste customers in order to establish:

  • the type of trade waste agreement applicable to you, reflecting the type, quality and quantity of the prospective discharge, and therefore the level of complexity of receiving and managing the trade waste stream;
  • the Trade Waste Agreement application fee, reflecting the level of complexity involved in assessing the application;
  • the annual Trade Waste Agreement fee, reflecting the level of complexity and resources required from us to monitor performance and ensure compliance with the Trade Waste Agreement, including the frequency of check sampling to be conducted by us;
  • the frequency of trade waste discharge sample monitoring and reporting that you will be required to undertake;
  • the term (life) of the Trade Waste Agreement;
  • the applicable trade waste tariff structure and billing cycle (if applicable); and
  • the application of the above requirements for “Deemed” trade waste customers. Refer to clause 4.4 for more information on this classification.

Classification process

We classify trade waste customers with consideration to the type of business, industry or activity carried out by you and the risk rating determined by us associated with the acceptance of your trade waste. Refer to the Trade Waste Management Policy for further information.

We will take into account any other matter, including:

  • your location relative to treatment plant;
  • volume of trade waste discharged;
  • nature of your business activity;
  • nature and quality of your trade waste;
  • compliance performance history for you, where available;
  • any risk to personal health and safety;
  • any risk to the sewerage system (transport or treatment);
  • any risk to the quality of recycled water or biosolids from the sewerage system; and
  • any risk to the environment.

We have the right to change your classification due to changed circumstances or new information coming to our attention.

Explanation of basis for classification

We will provide an explanation of the classification given to you upon request.

3. Risk identification and mitigation

Risk assessment by us

We will conduct a risk assessment for all applications to discharge trade waste to the sewerage system in accordance with the Trade Waste Management Policy.

We may complete additional risk assessments during the term of the Trade Waste Agreement.

We will advise you of:

  • any identified risks associated with the discharge; and
  • any mitigation measures you will be required to implement.

Such mitigation may include process and/or monitoring requirements and/or pre-treatment to meet acceptance criteria. Typical pre-treatment requirements are available online or by request.

Risk assessment by you

We may:

  • require you to conduct your own risk assessment to identify potential causes of non-compliant trade waste discharges
  • require you to provide and discuss the findings of your risk assessment with us; and
  • identify further risk mitigation requirements to be implemented by you to minimise the impact of your trade waste discharge on our sewerage system and operations.

4. Trade waste agreements

Prior to the discharge of trade waste to our sewerage system, you are required to enter a Trade Waste Agreement with us.

Form of agreement

Category 1 – Trade Waste customers

On the acceptance of an application from you determined to be a category 1 trade waste customer, we will provide you with a Trade Waste Agreement in the form of a Trade Waste Permit, detailed in appendix 3 of the Trade Waste Management Policy.

The Trade Waste Agreement is entered into by us providing the Trade Waste Agreement to you and you commencing the discharge of trade waste to our sewerage system. Neither party is required to execute the Trade Waste Agreement for the agreement to commence.

For the purposes of the Trade Waste Code and this Charter, trade waste customers with an existing Trade Waste Agreement granted by us prior to 1 July 2012 will be considered to hold this form of Trade Waste Agreement.

Categories 2 to 5 – Trade Waste customers

On the acceptance of an application from you determined to be a category 2, 3, 4 or 5 trade waste customer, we will provide you with a Trade Waste Agreement in the form detailed in appendix 4 of the Trade Waste Management Policy.

Both parties are required to execute the Trade Waste Agreement for the agreement to take effect. You must not commence the discharge of trade waste to our sewerage system prior to the Trade Waste Agreement being executed, unless we have provided an interim Trade Waste Agreement to allow information to be obtained regarding the characteristics of the trade waste.

For the purposes of the Trade Waste Code and this Charter, any Trade Waste Agreement entered into prior to 1 July 2012 will continue to apply until that agreement comes to an end.

Identifying trade waste customers

We will endeavour to identify all trade waste customers in our service area and ensure that each customer has a Trade Waste Agreement in accordance with this Charter and the Trade Waste Management Policy.

Matters to be dealt with by a Trade Waste Agreement

Our Trade Waste Agreements will specify, as a minimum, the following:

  • the parties to the agreement;
  • the address of the premises from which the discharge to the sewerage system will take place;
  • the discharge acceptance point and any sampling points;
  • the sewerage treatment plant or plants that will or may receive and treat the trade waste (if known);
  • the term (life) of the agreement;
  • the nature of the permitted activities conducted on your premises which generate the trade waste;
  • your rights and obligations, or provide reference to where those rights and obligations are set out;
  • our rights and obligations, or provide reference to where those rights and obligations are set out. Those rights will include:
  • the circumstances in which we may require you to cease discharging trade waste into our sewerage system, and;
  • the circumstances in which we may serve a non-compliance notice on you, and the consequences of non-compliance;
  • any fees, charges, tariffs or prices payable by you, or provide reference to where they are set out (if applicable);
  • the dispute resolution process, or provide reference to where the dispute resolution process is set out;
  • the procedure for serving notices on the other party, or provide reference to where the procedure is set out;
  • the relevant trade waste limitations, including times, rate, physical and chemical composition, prohibited substances, or reference to the approved acceptance criteria;
  • any monitoring, sampling or maintenance requirements, or reference to where those requirements are set out; and
  • only include matters appropriate to managing the discharge of trade waste.

“Deemed” trade waste customers

We have a number of non-residential customers who discharge to the sewerage system and would come under the definition of “trade waste” but are considered too small for us to require a Trade Waste Agreement, and do not warrant the additional level of administration and monitoring that comes with this. Clause 4.4 of the Trade Waste Code makes provision for dischargers of trade waste of a nature similar to domestic sewage, at our discretion, to have their agreement arise automatically through their conduct. These types of customers are classified as “Deemed” trade waste customers.

We will publish a generic form of Trade Waste Agreement on www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au and you will be notified that if you continue to discharge, you will enter into that agreement.

Customers who discharge trade waste, but that:

  • discharge small quantities of trade waste to our sewer, which is of a similar nature to domestic sewage; or
  • operate a business of a type which discharges small quantities of trade waste to our sewer, which is of a similar nature to domestic sewage,
  • will be considered “Deemed” trade waste customers.

As stated on our non-residential customer bills; if a “Deemed” trade waste customer continues to discharge trade waste they will be taken to have entered into a default Trade Waste Agreement with us, arising from customer conduct.

A listing of the types of customers that we would consider to fall into this category, as well as the default Trade Waste Agreement arising by customer conduct, can be found in the Trade Waste Management Policy.

We have the right to change your classification due to any changed circumstances or new information coming to our attention. Refer to Part D, clause 2 for more information on our trade waste customer classification process.

Amendments to a Trade Waste Agreement

A Trade Waste Agreement can only be amended:

  • if permitted by the Trade Waste Agreement and you are notified of the amendment in writing; or
  • if the amendment is in writing and signed by both parties.

5. Fees and charges

We will only impose fees and charges in connection with trade waste in accordance with the prices and pricing principles set out in the price determination made by the Commission.

Our approved pricing schedule for trade waste is available online.

6. Acceptance Criteria

Maintain approved statement of acceptance criteria

You may only discharge trade waste to the sewerage system in compliance with your Trade Waste Agreement, which includes the statement of approved acceptance criteria established by us, except where we have agreed to customer specific acceptance criteria (refer to Part D, clause 6 of this Charter).

Our statement of approved acceptance criteria for trade waste can be found in the Trade Waste Management Policy.

Changes to acceptance criteria

We will comply with the Trade Waste Management Policy, the Trade Waste Code and Part D of this Charter when introducing amendments to the statement of approved acceptance criteria and customer-specific acceptance criteria for trade waste.

When introducing an amendment to the statement of approved acceptance criteria and customer-specific acceptance criteria, we will consider the matters outlined in Part D, clause 2 of this Charter and additionally other matters including:

our statement of obligations;

  • the Trade Waste Code;
  • any requirement in law;
  • National Wastewater Source Management Guideline 2008 (or superseding document);
  • exposure standards prescribed by Worksafe Australia for atmospheric contaminants;
  • explosive limits for gaseous emissions (5% LEL);
  • EPA licence conditions; and
  • EPA guidelines, codes and publications.

Subject to Part D, clause 6 of this Charter:

  • a process to change approved acceptance criteria or customer-specific acceptance criteria may be initiated by either party or the Commission; and
  • we have no obligation to change any customer-specific acceptance criteria or apply for the Commission's approval to change its approved acceptance criteria at your request.

Amendment to statement of approved acceptance criteria

Our statement of approved acceptance criteria will only be amended with the Commission's prior written approval.

Prior to applying for the Commission’s approval of an amendment to the approved acceptance criteria, we will:

  • advertise on our website and notify all stakeholders (including potentially affected trade waste customers, the Commission and the Environment Protection Authority) that we are proposing a change to our approved acceptance criteria;
  • call for submissions from interested parties and note that submissions will be published on our website unless it is notified that a submission or part of a submission is confidential;
  • subject to any confidentiality requirement, publish all submissions received (on our website); and
  • undertake appropriate stakeholder consultation, which is open for at least 30 business days from the last date a stakeholder is notified.

We will ensure that any application to the Commission to amend the approved acceptance criteria is accompanied with supporting information including:

  • the reason for the amendment to the approved acceptance criteria, including the factors considered in establishing the amended criteria;
  • details of the stakeholder consultation undertaken;
  • a summary of concerns or comments raised in any submissions received during the stakeholder consultation period and a summary of any responses provided by us; and
  • an implementation plan, outlining how the change will be integrated into existing operational practices and what time frame you will have to comply with the new requirements.

Customer specific acceptance criteria

We may require you to comply with customer-specific acceptance criteria in addition to, or instead of, some or all of the statement of approved acceptance criteria, in order to satisfy the specific requirements of you and our sewerage systems.

We will respond to an application for customer-specific acceptance criteria within 10 business days of receipt of such an application, indicating:

  • whether the application has been accepted or rejected or accepted with amendments; or
  • where a longer period is required to assess the application, when a decision will be made.

If we provide a notice of rejection or acceptance with amendments, we will also provide you with a statement of reasons.

We will maintain a register of all customer-specific acceptance criteria detailing the name and address of the customer, the receiving sewerage catchment or treatment plant, the particular acceptance criteria parameter, the requested limit for the parameter and the current approved acceptance criteria limit for the parameter.

The register must also include all applications for customer-specific acceptance criteria or for amendments to such acceptance criteria, including our decision and the basis for that decision.

We will provide the Commission with a copy of the register on request.

Within 25 working days of the end of the last quarter of each financial year, we will provide the Commission with a statement (in a form provided by the Commission) setting out all changes to the register during that quarter.

7. Dispute resolution

Complaints and disputes policy

We will comply with our Enquiry, Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy and the terms of your Trade Waste Agreement in dealing with any complaints made by you or any dispute arising from the Trade Waste Agreement.

Our Enquiry, Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy is available online or by request.

Where a complaint escalates beyond our Enquiry, Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy and relates to technical or economic aspects of trade waste management we will:

  • with your consent, engage the services of an independent expert or mediator to help resolve the complaint; and
  • advise you that we may request that the Commission consider whether we have complied with the Trade Waste Code, the Customer Service Code or our price determination.

8. Sewerage system capacity planning

Our ability to accept and treat trade waste is regularly considered as part of our business planning processes.

Part E – Water supply by agreement terms and conditions

Under the authority of and subject to the provisions of the Water Act 1989 and our relevant by-laws, we may enter into an agreement with you, the customer, for the supply of water to property owned or occupied by you (the property).

1. Supply

Subject to you satisfying any prerequisites we advise you of, we shall supply water to your property by providing a point of connection located as specified by us.

2. Entitlement to supply

  • All your rights for the supply of water on these terms and conditions are personal. No right or entitlement to a supply of water runs with the property.
  • We will not be obliged to continue a supply of water to the property if you cease to own or occupy the property.
  • If you cease to be the owner or occupier (as the case may be) of the whole of the property, you must give us notification in writing of the change not later than two days prior to the intended change.
  • You shall advise any prospective future owners or occupiers of the property or part of the property:
    • that the supply of water is by agreement with us, and that the agreement does not run with the property. Such potential owner or occupier will need to deal with us in relation to continuing supply of water to the property;
    • if water is supplied through any private reticulation water system owned by a third party, that the potential owner or occupier will need to deal with the owner/s of that system in relation to its continued use to supply water to the property.

3. Purpose of supply

  • We will specify those purposes the water taken by you can be used for.
  • We do not undertake to supply water of a specific quality or quantity or to provide any guarantee of pressure or continuity of supply. If we become aware that the quality of supply is unsatisfactory for any of the purposes specified by us, we may suspend or terminate the supply of water.
  • Water quality beyond the meter is your responsibility. You are responsible for the management and supply of safe drinking water within your system to ensure that drinking water quality is maintained and does not deteriorate from:
    • the effects of infrastructure age and makeup (pipeline material, corrosion, etc
    • ingress of contaminants at tanks or from backflow from end-use points, main breaks, etc
    • reduction of residual disinfectant (or changes in water quality) from excessive water age or stagnation in the network
    • inappropriate maintenance, repair or construction works and practices.
  • The Department of Health provides a number of resources that can be used to ensure that you carry out these responsibilities effectively. These resources have been written for private drinking water supplies, but the information contained is equally applicable to maintaining water quality beyond the meter for water supply by agreement. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/water/private-drinking-water/about
  • You should also be aware that water provided to workplaces must meet the requirements for worker safety in terms of access to drinking water for kitchen facilities and the availability of toileting facilities.
  • Where water is provided to or used in food preparation facilities, this water must meet the requirements of the Food Act (Vic) and Food Standards Australian and New Zealand (FSANZ).
  • If there are any accommodation facilities on site, then there is also a requirement to provide potable water under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act and Regulations.

4. Prohibition on on-supply

  • You are prohibited from selling or on-supplying water to other users.
  • Without our written consent, you shall not extend, or permit any other person to extend, any private water reticulation system connected to the point of water supply, to facilitate provision of a supply of water to other property.

5. Temporary nature of supply

  • The provision of water on these terms and conditions is a temporary means of supply, with us having no obligation to either continue to provide supply or move to the provision of an alternate supply, whether temporary or otherwise.
  • The provision of water supplied on these terms and conditions shall not be relied on by you as grounds of objection to the provision of a permanent supply of water to the property as a serviced property under the Water Act 1989.
  • If the property becomes a serviced property within the meaning of the Water Act 1989, then you shall, if and when required by us, cause the private works to be disconnected at the point of supply. We may require you to contribute to the cost of the water supply system which will be made available for connection as a consequence of the property becoming a declared serviced property.

6. Meter

  • We will provide a meter appropriate for registering the quantity of water supplied to the property. We retain ownership of the meter.
  • You will not, or cause or permit any other person to, bypass or interfere with our water meter recording the volume of water delivered and acknowledge that to do so constitutes an offence under the Water Act 1989.
  • Should the water meter fail to register or, in the opinion of the General Manager Customers and Community or his/her nominee or such other Barwon Water officer of  having responsibility for this function (‘Authorised Officer’), register incorrectly during any period, then by inspection of previous records or in such other way as he/she thinks fit, he/she may estimate the quantity of water supplied during such period and you will be deemed to have been supplied with the quantity so estimated and shall pay for such quantity at the rate and in the manner hereinafter provided. Any dispute will be finally determined by us and our Authorised Officer.
  • Where water supplied on these terms and conditions is supplied to you through a private water reticulation system that supplies water to other customers, and the volume of water recorded by the meter placed to record all the water passing through the private water reticulation system is more than the total volume of water recorded by all meters placed to record the water passing from the private water reticulation system to each customer connected to the private water reticulation system, then you shall:
    • in the event that our Authorised Officer (in his/her sole discretion), but acting reasonably, cannot determine a more equitable apportionment of the cost of that volume of water (being the difference in volumes recorded), pay in equal shares with all other customers taking water through the private reticulation system, the cost of the water comprising that difference, or
    • where we make an unequal apportionment of the cost of the water, pay to us the sum so determined.

7. Fees and charges

  • You must pay our charges for the supply of water, which will be as advised to you from time to time.
  • In the event that our charges for the supply of water or other moneys due to us are unpaid for a period greater than 30 days, we may, in addition to recovering the amounts due in a court of law, discontinue the supply pursuant to Part E, paragraph 11 of this Charter.

8. Your works

  • You must install, maintain, alter or repair any private water reticulation system connecting to the point of water supply provided by us, in accordance with our reasonable requirements and all relevant Acts, Regulations and by-laws.
  • You must provide on-site storage for water to cater for circumstances of interruptions to or restriction of the supply of water.

9. Interruptions to supply

Our main or other works from which the property is to be supplied may be shut-off with or without notice for maintenance, repair or operational reasons. We will, when reasonably possibly, notify you when there is or may be interruption to supply for such purposes.

10. Variations to supply

We may at any time replace, alter or abandon the water reticulation system serving the point of connection to the property. If we consider it appropriate to continue to supply water to you, you will bear the cost of any works which are necessary to maintain supply or provide an alternative means of supply.

11. Termination of supply

  • We may at any time elect, in our sole discretion, to stop the supply of water to the property. We will not give less than 30 days’ written notice to you of our intention to stop supply, unless for good reason beyond our control, the supply cannot reasonably be maintained during that period, in which event we may give such lesser period of written notice as is reasonably appropriate in the circumstances.
  • In the event that we discontinue the supply of water, you shall, in accordance with all relevant Acts, Regulations and by-laws, discontinue your private reticulation works at the point of supply. In the event that you do not cause the disconnection to occur, we may cause such work to be done and the cost of doing so will be recoverable from you as a debt due to us.

12. Variations to terms and conditions

We may amend, vary, add to, or replace any of these terms and conditions of supply by giving you not less than 30 days’ written notice of the proposed changes.

13. Application of by-laws

Any matters relating to the supply, use of and charges for water provided under this agreement not specifically provided for in these terms and conditions of supply shall be in accordance with the provisions of our by-laws made from time to time for the regulating of supply and use of water within the area under our jurisdiction.

14. General

No service pipe shall be extended to serve more than one property, or cross title boundaries, without our consent.

Part F – Definitions

“accessible stop valve” means a stop valve that is placed above ground or is placed below ground within a stop valve cover approved by us.

“acceptance criteria” means the criteria applied by us to determine whether trade waste may be accepted into the sewerage system.

“approved acceptance criteria” means acceptance criteria which have been approved by the Commission in accordance with clauses 6.1(c) or 6.4 of the Trade Waste Code.

“approved service standards” means standards and conditions of service and supply approved by the Commission under clause 15 of the Water Industry Regulatory Order.

“available”means your property is a declared property in respect of that service under section 144 of the Water Act 1989.

“Barwon Water” means Barwon Region Water Corporation (ABN 86 348316 514).

billing period”means any period for which your bill is calculated.

“business day” means a day on which banks are open for general banking business in Geelong, not being a Saturday or a Sunday.

“Commission” means the Essential Services Commission established under the ESC Act 2001.

“complaint” means a written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction about an action, proposed action or failure to act by us, including a failure by us to observe our published policies, practices or procedures.

“customer”means a person who is:

  • an owner and occupier of a property connected to our system;
  • an owner and occupier of a property connected to our system by separate written agreement;
  • an owner of a property which is connected to our system but is not an occupier;
  • an owner of a property which is connected to our system by separate written agreement but is not an occupier;
  • an occupier of a property that is connected to our system and is liable for usage charges;
  • an occupier of a property that is connected to our system by separate written agreement and is liable for usage charges;
  • an occupier of a property that is connected to our sewerage system and is liable for usage charges;
  • an authorised representative of the owner or occupier of a property connected to our sewerage system;
  • an owner of a property that is not connected but to which a service is available from us and to whom we impose a service charge.

“Customer Service Code” means the code issued by the Essential Services Commission under Section 4F of the Water Industry Act 1994.

“Deemed” trade waste customer means customers that discharge small amounts of trade waste and who, as a result of this discharge, are taken to have entered into a default Trade Waste Agreement with us arising by customer conduct in accordance with Part D, clause 4 of this Charter.

“discharge acceptance point” means the point at which the trade waste enters the sewerage system.

“disconnect” means to physically prevent the flow of drinking water, non-drinking water, recycled water or sewage.

“drinking water” has the same meaning as in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003.

“electronic address” means an email or website address supplied by you to us for the purpose of receiving bills and other service related communications.

“eligible concession card” means a Commonwealth Government-issued Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Repatriation Health Card (Gold Card).

“enquiry” means a written or verbal approach by a customer which can be satisfied by the provision of written or verbal information, advice, assistance, clarification, explanation or referral about a matter.

“enquiry facility” means a telephone contact centre and may also include an on-line information facility.

“environmental regulation” includes applicable requirements of the Environment Protection Authority and (insofar as they relate to planning and environment matters) of local councils.

“ESC Act” means the Essential Services Commission Act 2001.

“EWOV” means the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria).

“external dispute resolution forum” includes Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

“family violence” has the meaning given in section 5 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic).

“financial year” means a year ending 30 June.

“guaranteed service level rebate” (GSL’s) means any form of payment or compensation made to you by us due to a breach of our stated obligations under a guaranteed service level scheme, approved by the Commission. (GSL’s do not apply to customers connected to water under a separate written agreement or to trade waste customers.)

“health regulation” includes the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003, the Food Act 1984, the Health (Fluoridation) Act 1973 and other applicable requirements of the Department of Health.

“interruption” means, in the case of your drinking water, non-drinking water or recycled water supply, a total loss of flow from our system to you or, in the case of your sewerage service, a total loss of access to the service due to a failure within our sewerage system.

“interpretation” as to whether we have complied with the Trade Waste Code will be determined by the Commission on the basis of the Commission’s interpretation of the Code. A reference to Codes, determinations, guidelines or statements of obligations includes a reference to amendments or replacements of any of them.

“meter assembly” means the apparatus consisting of a meter, stop valve, strainer and any additional valves, but does not include a backflow prevention device installed downstream of the outlet of the meter.

“non-drinking water” means water that is the subject of a declaration made by the Minister under section 6 of the Safe Water Drinking Act 2003, known under that Act as ‘regulated water’.

“non-residential property” means a property where drinking water supplied by us is used for any purpose other than domestic and stock use.

“occupier” means a person in occupation of a property to which a service is available, including:

  • a tenant or caravan park resident registered as such with us; or
  • the property owner; or
  • under a separate written agreement.

“permitted use rules” means our requirements under clause 14.3.

“planned interruption” means a scheduled interruption to a service to you by us to allow routine maintenance or augmentation to be carried out.

“price determination” means the Barwon Water Determination made by the Commission under section 33 of the Essential Services Commission Act 2001 and clause 8 of the Water Industry Regulatory Order 2014.

“private extension” means your infrastructure connecting one or more customers to a system under a separate written agreement.

“property owner’s infrastructure” includes your pipes, backflow prevention devices and other equipment belonging to you connected to our systems.

“reasonable charge” means a fee or charge that is approved or specified by the Commission in accordance with clause 8 of the Water Industry Regulatory Order.

“recycled water” means wastewater that has been treated and disinfected to a safe standard for reuse.

“restriction”means the reduction in the flow of water to your property to no less than 2 litres per minute, for non-payment of a bill.

“service” means a water supply service including a reticulated drinking water, non-drinking water or recycled water supply service, or a trade waste or sewerage service.

“sewage” means any human excreta or domestic waterborne waste, whether untreated or partially treated, but does not include trade waste.

“system” means our physical infrastructure for providing a drinking water, non-drinking water or recycled water supply or a trade waste or sewerage service.

“trade waste” has the meaning given to that term in the Water Act 1989, or our Trade Waste By-Law.

“Trade Waste Agreement” means written permission, consent, permit or other process to accept Trade Waste discharge.

“Trade Waste Customer Service Code” or “Trade Waste Code” refers to the Commission’s ‘Trade Waste Customer Service Code: Urban Water Businesses’ published by the Commission under section 4F of the Water Industry Act 1994, which places additional obligations on us specific to the management of trade waste services.

“Trade Waste Management Policy” means the Trade Waste Management Policy published by Barwon Water and amended from time to time (available on Barwon Water’s website).

“TTY service” means a facility to enable a deaf or hearing impaired person to communicate by telephone through the use of a telephone typewriter.

“unplanned interruption” means an interruption to services to you caused by a fault in our systems or a fault which is our maintenance responsibility where, due to the unforeseen nature of the fault, it is not practicable to give the period of notice to you required for a planned interruption.

“the Water Act 1989” means the relevant requirements contained in or made under the Water Act 1989,

“water law” means the relevant requirements contained in or made under the Water Industry Act 1994 or our by-laws.

Part G – Approved service standards

2017-18 to 2022-23 Water Plan Targets

Water

 

Unplanned water supply interruptions (per 100 km)

25

Average time taken to attend bursts and leaks (priority 1) (minutes

27

Average time taken to attend bursts and leaks (priority 2) (minutes)

43

Average time taken to attend bursts and leaks (priority 3) (minutes)

226

Unplanned water supply interruptions restored within 5 hours (per cent)

96.5

Planned water supply interruptions restored within 5 hours (per cent)

85

Average unplanned customer minutes off water supply (minutes)

20

Average planned customer minutes off water supply (minutes)

42

Average frequency of unplanned water supply interruptions (number)

0.16

Average frequency of planned water supply interruptions (number)

0.22

Average duration of unplanned water supply interruptions (minutes)

125

Average duration of planned water supply interruptions (minutes)

210

Number of customers experiencing >5 unplanned water supply interruptions in the year (number)

100

Unaccounted for water (per cent)

9

Sewerage

 

Sewerage blockages (per 100km)

37

Average time to attend sewer spills and blockages (minutes)

53

Average time to rectify a sewer blockage (minutes)

178

Spills contained within 5 hours (priority 1) (per cent)

100

Customers receiving more than 3 sewer blockages in the year (number)

1

Customer service

 

Complaints to EWOV (per 1,000 customers)

0.65

Telephone calls answered within 30 seconds (account line) (per cent)

90

Minimum flow rates

Pipe size

20mm

25mm

32mm

40mm

50mm

Flow rate (litres per minute)

20

35

60

90

160