Our Customer Charter sets out service levels we need to meet in the supply of water, wastewater and trade waste services to our customers. It explains your rights and obligations as customers and the rights and obligations of Gippsland Water.
Who is Gippsland Water
Gippsland Water is a Victorian Government statutory corporation established in December 1994. It provides water and wastewater services to people living in the region from Drouin in the west to Stratford in the east, and from Mirboo North in the south to Rawson and Briagolong in the north.
Gippsland Water’s employees and contractors
Where the Customer Charter imposes an obligation on Gippsland Water, the obligation extends to its officers, employees and contractors.
Where the Customer Charter confers a right on Gippsland Water, its officers, employees and contractors may enjoy the right to the extent permitted by Gippsland Water.
For further information about our Customer Charter, or any of our products or services, customers can contact Gippsland Water by telephoning 1800 050 500, by writing to Gippsland Water, PO Box 348, Traralgon, Victoria 3844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively customers can visit our website at www.gippswater.com.au
What Gippsland Water’s Customer Charter is all about
The Customer Charter outlines the commitments, responsibilities and standards of service that Gippsland Water will provide to our customers.
It sets out Gippsland Water’s obligations to customers and is consistent with the Essential Services Commission’s Customer Service Code for Victorian metropolitan and regional water businesses. This includes specific standards and conditions of service that apply to all Water businesses in Victoria.
In addition it sets out our agreed performance standards that apply particularly to Gippsland Water.
The Customer Charter will also assist customers with contact details should you require information or advice on our services.
Gippsland Water will be regulated on commitments made in our Customer Charter and this information will be publicly available.
Our Customer Charter forms part of our commitment to understanding our customers’ needs and meeting their expectations.
The Customer Charter does not remove any obligations of Gippsland Water to comply with the provisions of the Water Act 1989, other water law or statutory obligations.
A person is a customer and is covered by the Customer Charter if they:
The owners and occupiers of serviced properties that are not connected to water supply and/or wastewater services are customers under this Charter, but are not covered by sections 1, 4.1, 8, 9 and 10
The customer’s property
Unless the Customer Charter states otherwise, ‘property’ or ‘customer’s property’ means the property owned and/or occupied by the customer within Gippsland Water’s region.
When will it come into effect?
Gippsland Water’s Customer Charter became effective from 1 July 2005. Customer Service Standards were updated 1 July 2018 and are outlined in Appendix 3.
A separate written agreement for the provision of a service made before 1 November 2004 need not comply with this Charter.
A separate written agreement made after 1 November 2004 to apply beyond 1 July 2005 for the provision of a service cannot reduce the rights of a customer unless Gippsland Water can demonstrate that satisfying the code requirements is not practical and Gippsland Water expressly identify any material departures from this Charter to the customer in writing.
1.1 Obligation to provide a service
Subject to water law if your property is connected to a system, Gippsland Water will provide the relevant service in accordance with this Charter and the Essential Services Commission’s Customer Service Code.
1.2 Obligation to connect
Subject to water law, where a person requests connection to a service that is available, Gippsland Water will connect or approve connection to the person’s property within 10 (ten) business days, or such later date as agreed if:
1.3 Limits on recycled water services
Gippsland Water may refuse to provide you with a recycled water service if you have not:
Gippsland Water may discontinue a recycled water service if you breach the applicable permitted use rules.
1.4 Trade waste
The provision of trade waste services is subject to a trade waste agreement or consent.
Under Gippsland Water’s policy, a customer may use Gippsland Water’s wastewater service for the discharge of trade waste, provided the customer has first entered into a Trade Waste Agreement with Gippsland Water and Gippsland Water has consented to the discharge.
Gippsland Water will not enter into an agreement for the acceptance of trade waste in quantities or of quality that would – or that is reasonably likely to – endanger human life, risk the safety of any person or of the works of Gippsland Water, or significantly adversely affect the operation of a sewerage treatment plant or any part of the environment.
Gippsland Water will make available guidelines which advise customers of the standards and requirements for establishing a Trade Waste Agreement or consent. Gippsland Water will inform the customer of the review and dispute resolution procedures where such agreement or consent cannot be reached.
Gippsland Water will comply with the requirements of the Essential Services Commission Trade Waste Customer Service Code in relation to the provision of information to trade waste customers.
1.5 Fire services
Restriction on use
Except with the written approval of Gippsland Water no person shall:
2.1 Making a complaint
If a customer has a complaint, the customer should first contact the Customer Services section of Gippsland Water by telephoning 1800 050 500, by writing to Gippsland Water at PO Box 348, Traralgon, Victoria 3844, or email email@example.com
The customer will be given prompt, courteous service and will be told the name of the person who is handling the complaint.
If a customer asks for a written reply, Gippsland Water will respond to the customer within 5 (five) working days of receiving the complaint. The reply will either:
If a customer does not ask for a written reply, Gippsland Water will respond to the complaint by a telephone call, within 5 (five) working days of receiving the complaint.
2.2 Complaints review
If a customer is not satisfied with Gippsland Water’s response to a complaint, they may have the complaint referred to the Manager Customer Service.
If the customer is still not satisfied with the response, they may request that a general manager review the complaint. The manager will ensure that the complaint has been properly investigated and that the final decision has taken into account the customer’s rights and obligations.
In response, Gippsland Water will inform the customer of:
If the customer is still not satisfied with the response, they can lodge their complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria (EWOV) by telephoning 1800 500 509, free fax 1800 500 549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.3 Tax invoice disputes
If the complaint involves a dispute over an amount of money to be paid by a customer, Gippsland Water will not seek this amount from the customer unless the dispute has been resolved in favour of Gippsland Water.
The customer must pay any other amount owed to Gippsland Water by the customer, which does not directly relate to the complaint.
2.4 When a dispute may be considered to be resolved
A dispute may be considered to be resolved if:
• Gippsland Water has informed the customer of its decision on the customer’s complaint and the outcome of any review, (as set out in section 2.2) and 10 (ten) working days have passed during which time the customer has not:
o Sought further review
o Lodged a claim with EWOV or any other external dispute resolution forum
• The customer has lodged a claim with EWOV or any other external dispute resolution forum, and the claim has been finalised.
2.5 Complaints by Gippsland Water
If Gippsland Water believes a customer has failed to perform their obligations described in this Charter, Gippsland Water will attempt to resolve the dispute directly with the customer.
If, after doing so, Gippsland Water still believes the customer is in breach of this Charter, they may take enforcement action under water law and/or in the courts.
Gippsland Water’s charges are set on an annual basis and regulated and approved by the Essential Services Commission. Full details of the charges are available by contacting us on 1800 050 500 or on our website www.gippswater.com.au
Where a water and or wastewater main passes through or fronts a property and is capable of providing a service to the property, the property is deemed as being serviced and water availability and or wastewater availability charges are applied.
The following is a summary of our charges and how they are applied.
3.1 Water service availability charge
The water service availability charge is a contribution towards the cost of providing the water supply to the property and is charged according to the size of the service. Non connected properties pay the minimum availability charge.
3.2 Wastewater service availability charge
The wastewater service availability charge is a contribution towards the cost of providing the wastewater service to the property. It applies to both developed residential properties and vacant land where wastewater services have been constructed and are capable of servicing the property. Non connected properties pay the minimum availability charge.
3.3 Fire service availability charge
The fire service availability charge is a contribution towards the cost of providing a water service to hose reels, hydrants or sprinkler systems for fire fighting purposes only.
3.4 Multi tenement properties
For multi tenement properties such as flats, units, town houses, shops, shopping arcades etc, serviced by our water, and/or, wastewater service, a water/wastewater availability charge applies to each tenement.
3.5 Water usage
The property owner is liable for all water usage charges levied at a rate per kilolitre, unless the property is subject to a tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies Act.
Tenants and caravan park residents who are covered under the Residential Tenancies Act are only liable for any water usage charges if:
3.6 Notional usage charge
Where a property is connected to Gippsland Water’s water service but is unmetered, a notional usage charge equivalent to the cost of 209 kilolitres of water per annum is charged.
3.7 Wastewater volumetric charge
A wastewater volumetric charge applies to non residential properties where water usage at the property exceeds 100 kilolitres in any 4 (four) month period. The volumetric charge varies according to the type of development or business undertaken on the premises as detailed in Gippsland Water’s tariff notice.
3.8 Commercial trade waste
The commercial trade waste charge is a contribution towards the additional cost of treatment and management of trade waste.
3.9 How charges may be varied
Gippsland Water may vary charges to customers, subject to water law, its approved service standards and any relevant determination of the Essential Services Commission.
Gippsland Water will calculate a pro rata charge to effect a variation in charges where the variation date falls within a billing period.
3.10 Notification of price changes
Gippsland Water will notify customers of any variation in charges for services on, or with, the first bill after the decision to vary the charges has been made.
Gippsland Water will notify customers of any variation in charges by advertising in local newspapers.
4.1 Reading your water meter
Customers will be sent accounts at least every 4 (four) months for service charges and water usage charges within 2 (two) working days after Gippsland Water has read the meter or estimated the meter reading. If an estimated reading is required, it will be calculated:
Estimated accounts will be provided free of charge.
Upon request by the customer we will also conduct a special meter reading outside the normal meter reading cycle to determine any outstanding water usage charges. A fee for the special meter reading will apply.
4.2 Sending your account
Gippsland Water will send your account to the postal or electronic address you provide or to your agent or any person authorised to act on your behalf. The authorisation must be provided in writing.
If no address has been specified, Gippsland Water will send your account to the address of the property to which the charges apply or to your last known postal address.
4.3 Information on your account
Gippsland Water’s aim is to make our accounts easy to understand and provide you with information including:
Customers are eligible for state government funded concessions for their service availability charges and/or usage charges where:
Depending on the concession being applied for, Gippsland Water will either verbally confirm, sight or hold a copy of the concession card.
Customers should contact one of Gippsland Water’s service agents on our toll free number 1800 050 500 for more details.
4.5 Water and wastewater service availability rebates
Owners/occupiers of properties used predominantly for:
may be eligible for a rebate on their water and wastewater service availability charges, provided these activities are undertaken on a not-for-profit basis.
Customers can obtain further information by contacting Gippsland Water toll free on 1800 050 500.
4.6 Goods and Services Tax
The ‘New Tax System’ (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (‘GST Act’) identifies GST free supplies.
Water and wastewater service availability, water usage, wastewater volumetric and fire service charges are GST free.
Gippsland Water will at all times issue the customer with fully compliant accounts, regardless of GST being charged on the particular goods or services provided.
Gippsland Water’s ABN is 75 830 750 413.
4.7 Overcharging or undercharging
Where you have been overcharged as a result of an error by Gippsland Water, we will inform you within 10 (ten) working days of becoming aware of the error and either credit your account or offer you a refund of the amount overcharged.
If a customer has been overcharged as a result of an inaccurate meter, Gippsland Water will refund or credit any amount overcharged.
Where you have been undercharged and Gippsland Water proposes to exercise its right to recover an amount undercharged, Gippsland Water will:
In the event an estimation of water usage is required, the charge will be calculated either on your past usage history or by other means as defined in clause 4.1 of this Charter.
Where Gippsland Water has undercharged a customer as a result of the customer’s illegal use of water, Gippsland Water may:
Gippsland Water may exercise any other rights available to it if a customer’s illegal use of water is detected.
4.8 Giving notice when vacating
When vacating a property, the customer, under water law is obliged to pay charges incurred after vacating the property unless Gippsland Water is given at least 48 hours notice of the customer vacating the property.
A customer who fails to notify Gippsland Water that they are vacating a property will remain liable for any further water usage incurred at that property, until the meter is next read or to the end of the billing period, whichever occurs first.
5.1 Paying your account
Gippsland Water offers the following payment methods and may, at its discretion offer additional methods:
Gippsland water will not require you to agree to Direct Debit as a condition of service. For further information on any of these payment options please contact Gippsland Water on our toll free number 1800 050 500.
5.2 When payment is due
The amount set out in the account is due for payment within 28 (twenty-eight) days of the date of the account.
A customer is assumed to have received an account 2 (two) working days after Gippsland Water has raised charges in accordance with clause 4.2.
5.3 Flexible payment plans
If you are having difficulty paying your account or, would like to budget to pay your account in instalments, Gippsland Water has available a flexible instalment plan called an Easyway Payment Arrangement (Easyway).
This payment plan will:
An Easyway payment card is sent to the customer and may be used at Gippsland Water’s administration office or at any Australia Post office.
Gippsland Water will offer customers a flexible payment plan provided that the customer has not defaulted on 2 (two) payment plans during the last 12 (twelve) months. Where 2 (two) defaults have occurred during the last 12 (twelve) months, Gippsland Water will seek reasonable assurance that the customer is willing to comply with the plan.
Where a customer is to be absent for an extended period, e.g. on holiday or due to an illness, and is unable to arrange payment by one of the above methods, Gippsland Water also offers:
5.4 We can help if you are experiencing payment difficulties
Gippsland Water has a range of alternate payment options available to assist you if you are having trouble paying your account. Gippsland Water will assist each customer on a case-by-case basis by making provision for alternative payment arrangements in accordance with the customer’s capacity to pay including:
Confirmation in writing of your alternative payment method will be sent within 10 (ten) business days of an agreement being made.
Where appropriate, we will help you by:
5.5 Hardship Policy
Gippsland Water has a hardship policy that details procedures for assisting our residential customers. Without limiting this general obligation, the hardship policy provides internal assessment processes:
A copy of Gippsland Water’s Hardship Policy can be obtained by telephoning
1800 050 500, by writing to Gippsland Water at PO Box 348, Traralgon, Victoria 3844 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, customers can visit our website at www.gippswater.com.au
5.6 Family Violence Policy
Gippsland Water has a Family Violence Policy that helps us to assist customers experiencing family violence to manage the impact of physical and economic abuse and to provide informed and consistent advice and referrals. The Family Violence Policy provides internal assessment processes to:
A copy of Gippsland Water’s Family Violence Policy can be obtained by telephoning 1800 050 500, by writing to Gippsland Water at PO Box 348, Traralgon, Victoria 3844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, customers can visit our website at www.gippswater.com.au
6.1 What will happen if you do not pay your account by the due date?
All reasonable efforts will be made by Gippsland Water to provide assistance to customers with payment difficulties during the collection cycle.
If a customer fails to pay by the due date on their account, Gippsland Water, or an authorised agent working on behalf of Gippsland Water, will send a Reminder Notice which will state information on assistance available and the date from which interest will be applied.
6.2 A warning about what may happen if you do not pay your account
If a customer fails to pay by the due date on the Reminder Notice, a Final Notice will be sent at least 7 (seven) days prior to taking action for non payment. The Final Notice will:
In addition, both the Reminder Notice and the Final Notice will provide all the information required to appear on the original account except information about meter readings, usage, previous accounts or past payments.
6.3 Interest and other charges
Gippsland Water may charge interest in accordance with water law, except in cases where its hardship policy provides otherwise. Gippsland Water will inform customers when interest is to be applied to outstanding amounts.
Gippsland Water will not impose other charges in respect of outstanding amounts owed by a customer unless otherwise approved by the Essential Services Commission.
6.4 Dishonoured payment
If you pay your Gippsland Water account by cheque or Direct Debit, and the payment is not honoured by your bank, then Gippsland Water may charge you the administrative fee charged by Gippsland Water’s bank.
7.1 Legal action and restriction of supply
7.2 Limits on restriction and legal action
Gippsland Water will not commence legal action or take actions to restrict your service due to non-payment if:
Gippsland Water will not take actions to restrict your service due to non payment if:
This clause does not restrict Gippsland Water’s rights under the Water Act 1989 to pursue a debt owed to it by a person who is no longer a customer.
A restriction under this section may reduce the supply of water, or non-potable water to no less than 2 (two) litres per minute at the tap nearest the meter.
7.3 Removal of restrictions
Gippsland Water will restore the service restricted within 24 (twenty-four) hours of becoming aware of the reason for restriction no longer persisting.
Gippsland Water may impose a charge for the removal of restrictions on a service.
7.4 Guaranteed service levels (GSL’s)
Gippsland Water is committed to providing high levels of customer service to its customers. In the event that it does not meet guaranteed service levels (for residential customers only) detailed below it will pay a financial rebate.
GSL rebates will only be provided to residential customers who are the occupiers of the serviced property, and will not be given if an event is caused by, or is the responsibility of the customer, or a third party.
Prior to commencing a restriction or legal action, Gippsland Water, or an authorised agent, will:
If a customer in genuine hardship is restricted for non-payment Gippsland Water will pay compensation of $300 per day to a maximum of $900 until service is restored.
Sewer spills within a house
Gippsland Water will contain a sewer spill within house, caused by a failure of Gippsland Water’s system, not contained within one hour of notification.
If Gippsland Water does not meet this service level a $500 rebate will be provided to the customer’s account.The GSL does not apply:
Planned water supply and quality interruptions
If a customer is affected by a planned interruption and was not provided a minimum of 5 day’s notice, the customer will be paid a $50 credit to their next water bill.
If Gippsland Water are required to issue a ‘boil water’ alert, we will contribute $5,000 to a fund administered by our Community Consultative Committee.
From 1 July 2019, each customer affected by a planned water supply interruption that goes longer than advised, will be paid a $50 credit to their water bill.
Our commitment to community and the environment
If Gippsland Water receives a sanction from a regulator for harm to the environment we will contribute $5,000 to a fund administered by our Community Consultative Committee.
Gippsland Water commit to investing a minimum of $30,000 per year in programs that support the wellbeing of our communities.
8.1 Product quality
Gippsland Water’s objective is to supply drinking water to customers (at the outlet of the meter, or to the property boundary if there is no meter), which complies with the definition in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003.
Gippsland Water will conduct water quality monitoring programs and report results to customers as specified in Appendix 3.
8.2 Delivery quality (flow rates)
Gippsland Water will aim to maintain customers’ current level of service and will achieve the minimum flow rate as shown in the following table.
Single residential properties (houses) usually have a property service pipe of 20mm in diameter.
The flow rate and pressure is measured at the water meter (or where no meter is installed, at the tap at the property boundary) otherwise, the flow rate is measured at the outlet of the property service pipe.
For safety reasons, measurement at the outlet of the water meter should only be done by Gippsland Water or a licensed plumber.
Gippsland Water will ensure that a customer's water supply and recycled water supply is at least equal to minimum flow rates specified in Gippsland Water’s approved service standards, except to the extent that:
A customer may ask Gippsland Water to test whether we are providing adequate flow rate or water quality as set out in clauses 8.1 and 8.2. The customer will only be charged for this test if the test demonstrates compliance on Gippsland Water’s behalf.
8.4 Fixing the problem
If Gippsland Water is not meeting its obligations in relation to the provision of any of its services, it will rectify the fault as soon as possible, or within an agreed time frame.
9.1 Obligation to provide reliable services
Subject to our Statement of Obligations, Gippsland Water will manage our assets to provide you with reliable services.
Gippsland Water will take reasonable care to operate the wastewater (collection and transfer) system so that odours are not prevalent, as required by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
9.2 Notice in emergencies
In an emergency, Gippsland Water will attempt to contact the customer when Gippsland Water needs to enter a customer’s property to inspect or maintain Gippsland Water’s water supply and wastewater systems. Where the customer cannot be contacted directly, then Gippsland Water will use the appropriate media outlets to inform its customers of the situation and its plans to overcome the emergency.
9.3 Unplanned interruptions
Gippsland Water will comply with the following standards specified in its Water Plan and approved by the Essential Services Commission:
Where an unplanned interruption of the water supply or wastewater service occurs, Gippsland Water will minimise inconvenience to customers by:
Refer to Appendix 3 for Gippsland Water’s approved customer service standards.
If the customer is not satisfied with Gippsland Water’s actions advice can be sought from the local Council Environmental Health Officer.
If there is an unplanned interruption to our services, Gippsland Water will ensure that information and advice is available from our Service Centre on our 24-hour number 1800 057 057.
The Service Centre will advise callers:
9.4 Bursts, leaks, blockages and spills
In the event of a burst, leak, blockage or spill in its system, Gippsland Water will:
9.5 Wastewater blockages
If the blockage is in the customer’s wastewater pipe (property drain) it will be necessary for the customer to engage a licensed plumber and pay the cost to clear the blockage. Refer to Appendix 1.
If the blockage is in Gippsland Water’s wastewater property connection pipe and the blockage has been caused by tree roots from trees growing in the customer’s property, it will be necessary for the customer to engage a licensed plumber and pay the cost to clear the blockage, and repair any damage to the property connection pipe caused by the tree roots.
If the blockage is in Gippsland Water’s wastewater property connection pipe or sewer main, Gippsland Water will clear the blockage at its own cost.
If the blockage is in Gippsland Water’s wastewater pipe (sewer main) and the blockage has been caused by tree roots from trees growing in the customer’s property, then Gippsland Water may exercise its power under the Water Act 1989 and recover from the property owner reasonable costs for clearing the blockage and or repairs for damage caused by the customer’s tree roots.
9.6 Planned interruptions – information and response
Gippsland Water will inform affected customers in writing of the time and duration of any planned interruption to service at least 5 (five) days in advance.
As well, Gippsland Water has policies, practices and procedures in relation to providing customers with access to emergency supplies of drinking water in the event of a planned interruption to water services.
9.7 Special needs
If a customer requires a water supply to operate a life support machine, or for any other special needs and this has been confirmed by a hospital, the customer may register with Gippsland Water.
Gippsland Water keeps an up-to-date register of customers who require water for:
Gippsland Water will contact customers on our special needs register:
Gippsland Water will not restrict a customer’s water supply for non-payment if their registration is for health reasons.
In all cases Gippsland Water will endeavour to minimise inconvenience to these customers.
Gippsland Water may disconnect the supply of water or recycled water to a customer if:
Gippsland Water may disconnect a property from its system if the owner or owner/occupier has failed to comply with a notice from Gippsland Water to:
Gippsland Water will promptly reconnect a customer’s property which has been disconnected upon:
10.3 Disconnection by the customer
Under the Water Act 1989, a customer who owns a property may, with Gippsland Water’s written consent, disconnect the property from the water main or sewer branch to which it is connected.
Gippsland Water is not required to consent if it believes that disconnection of the customer’s property from its water or wastewater systems would endanger public health or the environment, or the request is not based on reasonable grounds.
The property owner remains liable for non connected service availability charges where the services are available for connection.
10.4 Drought and Emergency Response
In the case of drought or an emergency, the use of water may be restricted or prohibited in accordance with a schedule of restrictions contained in the Drought Management Plan, or the Drought Response Action Plan of Gippsland Water, as approved by the Minister.
11.1 Quality improvement programs
Maintenance of property plumbing and water pipes, property service pipes, property stop tap or ball valve, backflow prevention devices and wastewater pipes.
Gippsland Water will implement programs to maintain its systems in accordance with our approved service standards and the Water Act 1989.
All on site property plumbing works from the outlet of any water meter or upstream from the wastewater property connection point must be undertaken by a licensed or registered plumber, as required by the Building Act 1993.
The responsibilities of the property owner and plumber are also set out in the Building Act 1993.
11.1.1 Between the water meter and the customer’s tap
The property owner is responsible for maintaining all water pipes and fittings from the water meter assembly to all taps and appliances. Where there is no water meter assembly, or the meter assembly is not located within two (2) metres of the property boundary fronting the water main, the property owner is responsible for maintaining all water pipes and fittings from the property boundary to all taps and appliances.
Multi tenement properties: Gippsland Water has no powers within a body corporate estate, and no control over, or responsibility for internal common water supply pipes. Therefore, maintenance of a common water service between the meter and taps is the responsibility of the body corporate or the joint responsibility of the property owners where no body corporate exists.
11.1.2 Between the water main and the water meter (property service pipe)
Gippsland Water is responsible for maintaining the property service pipe between the water main and the water meter, the water meter itself and the property stop tap or ball valve provided:
Note: Where the meter assembly or property stop tap or ball valve is located beyond 2 (two) metres of the property boundary, or where there is no meter installed, Gippsland Water is responsible for maintaining the property service pipe up to the property boundary.
Gippsland Water will maintain any galvanised iron property service pipe for which it has maintenance obligations if it is leaking.
11.1.3 Property service stop tap or ball valve
Maintenance response to leaking stop taps and ball valves, or faulty stop taps or ball valves will be repaired in line with our customer service standards (Refer: Appendix 3) and prioritised as follows:
11.2 Reinstating the street or property
Where Gippsland Water opens or breaks up the soil or pavement of any street or property, it will:
so as to leave the streets or property in a state as near as possible to the state it was in prior to the work being done by Gippsland Water.
11.3 Safety fencing and lighting
Gippsland Water will also ensure that where any soil or pavement on any street has been opened or broken up by it, that those areas are properly fenced and where appropriate, lit so they do not constitute a hazard.
This will be done in accordance with any standards set by VicRoads, local council and/or any other applicable health and safety standards.
11.4 Contributions to new works
The Essential Services Commission became the economic regulator of the Victorian water sector on 1 January 2004. As part of its role the ESC must approve all fees and charges to be levied by Water businesses from 1 July 2005. Any contribution required to be made by a property owner will be made in accordance with the ESC's pricing determination.
If Gippsland Water intends to provide new or improved services which will benefit a property it may require the property owner to meet or contribute to the cost of any related works.
Where this occurs, Gippsland Water must give the owner a notice setting out:
Within 1 (one) month of receiving this notice, (or longer if stipulated by Gippsland Water in the notice), the owner may object to the payment. Gippsland Water must review its decision based on that objection. If Gippsland Water decides to proceed with the new works or services, the owner may have the decision reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Gippsland Water is required to have regard to the requirements of the Consumer Credit Code in negotiating the terms and payments of any agreement with customers.
11.5 Other water services
The property owner is the owner of, and is responsible for maintenance to all other types of water service, which may include:
11.6 Backflow prevention devices
The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of any backflow prevention device which has been installed at the outlet of the water meter.
11.7 Wastewater pipes
Conventional sewerage systems
The property owner is responsible for maintaining all plumbing and pipe work from the household fixtures servicing the property, up to the connection point provided by Gippsland Water during the construction of the wastewater main. In most cases the connection point is inside the property boundary.
If an owner does not know where the connection point is Gippsland Water will provide this information.
Multi tenement arrangements
Gippsland Water has no powers within the Body Corporate estate and no control over, or responsibility for internal common drains. Therefore, maintenance of common drains from household fixtures servicing the property up to the connection point of the sewer main is the responsibility of the Body Corporate or the joint responsibility of the property owners, where no Body Corporate exists.
Pressure sewerage systems
If your property is serviced by a pressure sewerage system, Gippsland Water owns and is responsible for maintaining the pump unit and all works from the unit to our sewer. The property owner is responsible for maintaining all sewerage works on your property beyond the unit. Refer to Appendix 2.
The relevant conditions of connection also require you to maintain the power supply, the independent circuit breaker and the power cable to the pump control panel on your property and to pay electricity charges for operating the pump. If the pump unit or works on Gippsland Water’s side of that unit require repairs, please contact our Service Centre on 1800 057 057.
The following obligations also apply to properties within a sewerage district serviced by pressure sewerage systems:
Please contact Gippsland Water’s Service Centre on 1800 050 500 if you require a copy of the Home Owners Manual.
11.8 Notice to repair
The property owner may be required to undertake maintenance work under the Water Act 1989.
Under circumstances specified in the Water Act 1989, Gippsland Water may deliver notice to a property owner requiring the property owner to:
11.8.1 If the property owner fails to comply, the Water Act 1989 provides that Gippsland Water may take the action specified in the notice and charge the owner the reasonable costs for which the owner is responsible.
11.8.2 The notice given to a property owner to take the action specified will be reasonable. Completion of the identified work will not be required in less than 48 (forty-eight) hours after the notice has been delivered.
11.8.3 If Gippsland Water has been advised that the property is occupied by a tenant, a copy of the notice will be forwarded to that tenant for information.
11.9 Removal of trees
11.9.1 If Gippsland Water reasonably decides that a tree on a property is obstructing or damaging its water or wastewater system, or is likely to do so, it may exercise its powers under the Water Act 1989 and require the property owner to remove the tree.
11.9.2 Gippsland Water must first give the property owner 7 (seven) days notice in writing. If the property owner believes that the decision of Gippsland Water is unreasonable he or she may, within that 7 (seven) day period, apply to Gippsland Water to have the decision reviewed.
11.9.3 Compensation may be required to be paid by Gippsland Water to the property owner if the tree required to be removed is on land over which:
11.9.4 If Gippsland Water still decides that the tree is to be removed and the property owner still does not agree with this decision, he or she may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have the decision reviewed.
11.9.5 If the property owner does not apply to the tribunal, and does not remove the tree, then Gippsland Water may give notice that if the tree is not removed within 21 (twenty-one) days, it will remove the tree and recover the reasonable cost of removal from the property owner.
11.9.6 If Gippsland Water has been advised that a tenant occupies the property, a copy of the notice will be forwarded to the tenant, for information.
11.10 Building work by the customer – ‘Build Over’
11.10.1 Under the Water Act 1989, customers must not, without the prior consent of Gippsland Water, undertake any building or construction work or place fill:
Customers should contact Gippsland Water prior to constructing extensions, garages, sheds and other structures on their properties to determine the location of services and seek advice.
11.10.2 Altering connections
Under the Water Act 1989, customers must not alter any works connected to Gippsland Water’s works without Gippsland Water’s consent.
11.11 Damage and illegal works
Gippsland Water is not responsible for any:
Gippsland Water reserves the right to recharge for the costs incurred to rectify damage caused.
11.12 Worker identification
A Gippsland Water representative will not enter your property without appropriate identification.
11.13 Entry onto customer’s property
If a Gippsland Water representative enters a residential property, except for the purpose of reading a meter or in an emergency, they must:
Non Residential Properties
If a Gippsland Water representative enters a non-residential property, except for the purpose of reading a meter, water quality testing, trade waste inspections, or in an emergency, they must:
Residential and Non Residential
Under the Water Act 1989, Gippsland Water may also enter a customer’s property after giving 7 (seven) days’ notice, (or a shorter time subject to the customer’s consent) in order to:
A Gippsland Water representative will only enter a residential property between the hours of 7.30am and 6.00pm unless:
In the case of trade waste inspections for commercial and industrial properties (that are not used primarily for residential purposes), this restriction on entry times does not apply, however, Gippsland Water must enter the property only at times it reasonably believes the property is in operation, unless it is an emergency.
11.14 Notifying Gippsland Water of dangers
Customers are requested to advise Gippsland Water employees and contractors of anything on their property that they know could be dangerous to the employees or contractors, such as a guard dog.
11.15 Keys held by Gippsland Water
If Gippsland Water holds keys to your premises, the keys will be held in safe custody and returned to you upon notification of your vacation of the property, or if access is no longer required.
11.16 Gippsland Water’s meters
11.16.1 Measuring water supplied
The customer will be charged for the volume of water measured by an approved meter installed and maintained by Gippsland Water. The exceptions are where the meter has failed a test in accordance with clause 11.19 or an estimate has been required in accordance with clause 4.1.
Gippsland Water will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that all customers, whose properties have a meter which measures volumetric use for billing purposes, have an actual meter reading every billing cycle, or otherwise at least once every 12 (twelve) months.
A notional charge may be applied where the property receives a water supply but no meter is installed.
The meter which records the total volume of water used by a property and read by Gippsland Water for billing purposes, can only be installed at the initiative of Gippsland Water, the property owner or the body corporate. Gippsland Water will take no responsibility for the maintenance or reading (for billing purposes) of water meters installed by a property owner for the purpose of measuring water consumption on multi tenement properties.
11.16.3 Installation costs of meters for new properties will be the responsibility of the property owner. Costs for installing new meters in existing unmetered properties will be the responsibility of the property owner.
11.16.4 The meter is owned by Gippsland Water once it has been installed and must be:
11.16.5 If Gippsland Water believes that a meter on any property connected to its system is functioning inaccurately, Gippsland Water may compute the quantity of water supplied to the property during a specific period:
11.17 Ensuring access
11.17.1 The customer must ensure that the meter is accessible for reading, testing inspection and replacement by Gippsland Water.
11.17.2 Gippsland Water may serve notice on the customer to make the meter safely accessible, under provisions of the Water Act 1989.
11.18 Readings by the customer
If Gippsland Water is unable to gain access to read the meter on a customer’s property, the customer may be asked to read it and advise Gippsland Water. If the customer fails to provide a reading, Gippsland Water may estimate the amount of water used. The estimation will be calculated on the customer’s water usage history at the property.
11.19 Meter testing/calibration
11.19.1 Gippsland Water may at any time, and will within 10 (ten) working days of a request from a customer, test a 20mm to 25mm meter which has been installed to measure and record the amount of water supplied to the customer to ascertain whether or not the meter is accurate.
The property owner has 2 (two) choices of meter test for a 20 or 25mm meter – an on site test, where Gippsland Water test the meter at the property, or an off site test where Gippsland Water replace the existing meter with a new meter and have the meter tested by the manufacturer. A detailed report of the results is sent to the customer. The fee for both on site and off site testing is the same if applicable.
If the meter is equal to or greater than 32mm in size, it will be removed and sent to the manufacturer for testing. A new meter will be installed and a detailed meter test report will be forwarded to the customer.
11.19.2 Before testing the meter, Gippsland Water may first ask the customer to perform a test to show whether there is a leak in the pipes on the customer’s property.
11.19.3 If required, Gippsland Water will conduct the meter test and calculate the measurement error:
11.19.4 If the test shows that the meter is faulty by an error measurement greater than 5% Gippsland Water must:
11.19.5 The costs of the test will be met by the customer if the meter is shown not to be inaccurate in accordance with clause 11.19.4, and will be raised on the customer’s next account.
11.19.6 A copy of the test report will be provided to the customer within 5 (five) days of Gippsland Water receiving the test report.
11.20 Estimated meter readings
11.20.1 Gippsland Water may estimate the meter reading if:
11.20.2 In estimating the reading Gippsland Water will base the estimate as specified in clause 4.1 of this Charter.
12.1 Requests for information
12.1.1 Gippsland Water will respond to written requests for information consistent with normal commercial practices.
12.1.2 Account history
On written request Gippsland Water will provide a customer, or their representative with written authorisation, with copies of any documents it has concerning the customer’s account history, which are reasonably available.
Gippsland Water will ensure that the last 3 (three) years of a customer’s account history (volume of water used, charges and payments made) is stored in such a way that information can be provided quickly and at no cost to the customer during a phone enquiry.
A water business may refuse to provide a customer with their account and usage history where the provision of such information is contrary to the information handling procedures set out in Gippsland Water’s family violence policy and the refusal is not in breach of law.
12.1.3 Gippsland Water will provide copies of the following materials to customers on request:
12.1.4 Under the Water Act 1989, any person may obtain an information statement in relation to any customer’s property, on payment of an application fee to Gippsland Water.
Applications must contain a description sufficient to identify the land in relation to which the information statement is required.
220.127.116.11 The information statement will specify in writing:
12.2 Fees for information or advice
Gippsland Water may impose a reasonable charge for providing a customer’s account and usage history held beyond 3 (three) years in accordance with the relevant Public Record Office Standard General Disposal Schedule for the records of water corporations.
12.3 Regulatory information
Gippsland Water will provide, on request, any regulatory instruments other than primary legislation under which it operates, including a copy of the Essential Services Commission’s Customer Service Code.
12.4 Permitted use
Gippsland Water will regularly inform relevant customers of our required limits on the permitted use of recycled water, non-potable water and wastewater which at least reflects:
12.5 Sustainable use of water
Reducing accounts by saving water
Reducing the amount of water used will reduce a customer’s usage charges.
Gippsland Water will actively develop and carry out programs to inform customers about the conservation and efficient use of water. Information about these programs is available by contacting Gippsland Water on 1800 050 500 during business hours (8.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday).
Gippsland Water will also provide customers with information on how to conserve water, when requested.
Rainwater, composting toilets and re-use of domestic wastewater (greywater)
Unless exempt under clause 1.2, customers who live in a reticulated sewerage area must maintain a connection to the system.
This charter does not prevent customers from:
12.6 Water reuse
Greywater or sullage includes wastewater produced from your kitchen, bathroom and laundry, but not the toilet.
Gippsland Water does not make recommendations on the use of greywater, however, we do warn customers that the quality of greywater can vary greatly. Wastewater from the laundry or bathroom may be suitable to be directly used on the garden, although aspects such as residual salts, nutrients, soap and detergents and bacterial contamination need to be considered, particular if the water is applied to native plants, and vegetables for human consumption. Wastewater directly applied from the kitchen is most often unsuitable because fat and food scraps can block greywater reticulation (pipe) systems.
Gippsland Water strongly suggests that customers contact the EPA and the Environmental Health Unit at their local council prior to installing a greywater treatment system. Further details of requirements for the installation of a greywater treatment system are available at http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/water/o... .
12.7 Communication assistance
Gippsland Water will provide access to an interpreter service and a TYY service for speech and hearing impaired customers. The contact numbers for these services are: TTY 1800 555 677, Interpreter Service 131 450.
We will publish and provide a copy of the Customer Charter in languages other than English upon request.
12.8 Customer obligations
Gippsland Water will use reasonable endeavours to keep you informed of your obligations under the Water Act 1989 including:
Gippsland Water is committed to ensuring information we hold about our customers is protected and only used in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2000, or for a purpose authorised by our customers.
National Privacy Principles as required by the Information Privacy Act 2000 came into effect from 21 December 2001. Gippsland Water’s policies and procedures comply with the Information Privacy Act 2000 and National Privacy Principles, which ensure that the privacy of our customers is protected.
Gippsland Water only collects information from its customers that it need to conduct the business of providing water, wastewater and associated services within its Region.
The information we collect is the minimum required to ensure that we are able to provide a high level of service to our customers. Gippsland Water does not collect any information from our customers that is not required to ensure the provision of our services.
In some limited circumstances, we may collect personal information such as health information for our customers who use dialysis machines. We will collect this information only with our customers’ written consent, or otherwise in accordance with an applicable law or regulation.
Before adopting or varying a customer charter, Gippsland Water will consult with its customers.
Submission for assessment
Before adopting a charter or any variation to a charter, Gippsland Water will submit it to the commission, with details of customer consultation undertaken, for the commission to review it and assess compliance of the charter with this code and the Water business’s approved service standards.
12.11 Involving customers in service planning
Gippsland Water has established a Customer Consultative Committee to enable community input into our service planning and decision making processes.
12.12 Customer survey
Gippsland Water will survey a representative sample of customers about the performance of Gippsland Water at least every 18 (eighteen) months. A media release summarising the results will be distributed to all local media outlets and made available to the public on the Gippsland Water website.
12.13 Monitoring of water quality
Gippsland Water is required to publish its water quality monitoring programs annually as measured against the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and the Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2005.
13.1 Publication and distribution of this Customer Charter
Gippsland Water will publish this Customer Charter on its website and provide a hardcopy to customers on request.
In addition, we will keep a copy of the Customer Charter at our office for inspection during business hours.
13.2 Charter summary
A summary of this Charter will also be available for distribution to:
13.3 Changes to this Customer Charter
Gippsland Water’s Customer Charter may be amended:
If Gippsland Water materially changes its Customer Charter, we will let each customer know that the charter has been changed and that the details of the change are available on our website or upon request. Notification of the change will occur on or with the next account after the change has occurred.
14.1 General service and product standards
Gippsland Water will comply with its general obligations under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the Victorian Fair Trading Act 1999 and will provide any services under this Charter with due care and skill. Any materials provided by Gippsland Water in connection with those services will be reasonably fit for the purpose for which they are provided.
14.2 General right to compensation
In such cases, the customer’s right to compensation may arise under this Charter, the Water Act 1989, the Fair Trading Act 1999, the Building Act 1993 or the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Arrears means an amount of money owed to Gippsland Water by a customer.
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 the property is a declared property in respect of that service under section 144 of the Water Act 1989.
Backflow prevention device means a device, which must be a type approved under Part 12A of the Building Act 1993, used to prevent contaminants from being introduced into Gippsland Water’s water supply system from a customer’s water system.
Ball valve is a valve having a ball which can be turned to move its port or ports relative to the body seat ports, to control the flow of fluid.
Billing period means any period for which a customer’s tax invoice was calculated.
Bursts or leaks means an unplanned event in which water is lost and is attributable to failure of a pipe, hydrant, valve, fitting or joint material regardless of cause.
Business day means a day on which banks are open for general banking business in the city or town in which Gippsland Water’s head office is located, not being a Saturday or a Sunday.
Commission means Essential Services Commission established under the ESC Act.
Complaint means a written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction about an action, a proposed action, or a failure to act by Gippsland Water, its employees or contractors. This includes failure by Gippsland Water to observe its published policies, practices or procedures. (See also below the definition for enquiry).
Customer is defined in Part A – Introduction.
Disconnect means to physically prevent the flow of water, recycled water or sewerage.
Drinking Water has the same meaning as in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003.
Domestic wastewater (greywater) is wastewater discharged from household fixtures e.g. showers, baths and sinks.
Drought means a prolonged period of low rainfall resulting in an actual or potential water shortage.
Electronic address means an email or internet address supplied by a customer to a Water business for the purpose of the receipt of bills and other service related communications.
Enquiry means a written or verbal approach by a customer which can be satisfied by providing written or verbal information, advice, assistance, clarification, explanation, or referral about a matter.
Enquiry facility means a telephone call centre and may also include an on-line information facility or an over-the-counter information service.
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.
Failure to comply with instalment plan means that, when a payment is due, and has not been provided in terms of the arrangement agreed upon.
Financial year means a year ending 30 June.
Fire Service is a property service that may comprise of a sluice valve, water pipes, fire hydrants, fire hose reels and fittings (including water storage or pumping facilities) which is installed for fire fighting and extinguishing purposes to a property.
Footpath tap is a stop tap for use between the water service and the supply main pipe to the premises.
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 Human Services.
Landlord means any person who leases or rents a residential property to a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
Legal Action means debt recovery action that has been enforced by the Magistrates Court.
Maintenance includes repair and or replacement.
Meter assembly is an apparatus consisting of water meter, stop valve, strainer, additional valves (if fitted) and unions required to connect these components together and to the water supply pipe work but does not include a backflow prevention device installed downstream of the outlet of the meter.
Minister means the Minister to whom the corporation is responsible under the Water Act 1989.
Non potable 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’.
Occupier means a person in occupation of a property to which a service is available, including:
Permitted use rules means a Water business’s requirements under clause 12.4, of this Charter.
Person includes a body or association (corporate or unincorporated) and a partnership.
Planned interruption means an interruption, which is caused by Gippsland Water to allow planned maintenance or augmentation to be carried out.
Planned works means the act of carrying-out any water supply or wastewater service works, including surveying and associated work for new property developments, which are planned, scheduled or known about in advance by Gippsland Water. Such works may also result in planned interruptions.
Property service is the pipes and fittings used or intended to be used for the supply of water to a property, from the water main up to and including the meter assembly or to the stop tap/ball valve if no meter is fitted.
Property owner’s infrastructure includes the customer’s pipes, backflow prevention devices and other equipment of the customer connected to a system.
Reasonable assurance means, in relation to a customer’s offer to pay, a fair and reasonable expectation (based on all the circumstances leading to, and which are anticipated to follow, the offer) that the customer will meet the terms of the offer.
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.
Regional water business means a regional urban water corporation constituted under the Water Act 1989 or its successor.
Regional service means a service provided by a regional water business.
Residence means the building in which the customer lives.
Right angle tap is a tap in which the centrelines of the inlet and outlet are at right angles.
Serviced properties means any property where water supply and/or wastewater pipes have been laid and are available to service the property and the property has also been declared serviced by Gippsland Water, under section 144 of the Water Act 1989.
Service means a water supply service including a reticulated non-potable water supply service, a recycled water supply service or a sewerage service.
Stop valve is a valve which can be operated to stop the flow of water in a pipeline.
Stop tap is a screw-down pattern tap with horizontal inlet and outlet connections. It usually incorporates a loose jumper valve, permitting flow in one direction only.
System means a Water business’s physical infrastructure for providing a water supply service, a recycled water service or a trade waste or wastewater service.
Temporary water service (Private Extension or Trunk Extension) is a service enabling the supply of water from a water main or aqueduct to one or more premises not fronted by a water main or aqueduct.
Tax invoice means a document issued by the supplier, which must show the GST inclusive price, the supplier’s name and Australian Business Number (ABN), the date and words “tax invoice” printed prominently.
Tenant means a customer who leases or rents a residential property under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
Trade waste has the definition given in regulations made under the Water Act 1989.
Trade Waste Customer Service Code refers to the Essential Services Commission’s Trade Waste Customer Service Code
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 which is caused by a fault in Gippsland Water’s system or a fault which is the maintenance responsibility of Gippsland Water as set out in section 9 of this Charter.
Wastewater means any human excreta or domestic water borne waste, whether untreated or partially treated. It does not include trade waste or storm water.
Wastewater services means the functions described in Part 9 of the Water Act 1989.
Water Act 1989 includes all amendments to, and any regulations made under, that Act.
Water business means a metropolitan Water business or a regional water business.
Water law means the relevant requirements contained in or made under the Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Act 1994.
Water supply services means the functions described in Part 8 of the Water Act 1989.
Water service is that part of the cold water supply pipe work from the water main up to and including the outlet valves at fixtures and appliances.
Water service pipe is the pipe of any water service.
Water main is a conduit or pipeline vested in the water corporation, or controlled and maintained by a network utility operator and constructed to convey drinking water supplied by that corporation.