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Our performance in 2020-21

Report to customers

As part of our pricing submission to the Essential Services Commission we spoke with you, our customers, about what you would like from us and put together a plan for 2018-23. We promised we’d let you know how we’re delivering on that plan. This is an update on how we’re doing so far.

Based on input from our customers, we set ambitious targets. Our targets and result for each of the five service outcomes that customers told us were the most valued and expected from us are summarised below.

Legend

The following colours apply to outcomes in our performance tables:

Achieved

Partially achieved

Not achieved

Summary table

Outcome

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

1. Customer value: Do Your Job Well

2. Customer value: Be Easy To Deal With

3. Customer value: Be Affordable and Fair

4. Customer value: Prepare and Protect

5. Customer value: Be Involved

Overall

Comment

This is the third year we’ve had the opportunity to self-assess and share detailed, measurable results with our customers about how we’re tracking against the promises we made to them through our 2018 Price Submission.

We consider we’ve performed well overall, rating our performance as ‘green’. Essentially this means we’re on track to deliver what we promised across the five areas our customers said were most important to them.

When we spoke with our customers in 2017, they told us they wanted us to be more involved in our community. This has been a significant area of focus for us over the last twelve months, during which time we’ve embarked on the most comprehensive customer and community engagement program we’ve ever undertaken to inform our next Price Submission and Urban Water Strategy.

We exceeded our community support targets with 18 new drinking fountains installed around the region, five water-focused community initiatives supported through our sponsorship program and broad community support received for our collaborative health and environmental campaigns.

We continued to find ways to make it easier for our customers to deal with us, with an ongoing focus on supporting customers who may be experiencing financial difficulties by engaging with them early and letting them know the options that are available to assist them and ultimately help them better manage their bills.

As always, there are opportunities for improvement. We assessed our performance against the theme of ‘Do our job well’ as ‘orange’, with rationale and context provided in the detailed results below. This result can be mainly attributed to complexity of the jobs involved and a single E.Coli detection in the Boisdale water system in early June 2021.

We assessed our performance against the theme of ‘Prepare and protect’ as ‘orange’. This was due to a low-level technical breaches of our EPA Drouin wastewater plant operating license during higher than average rainfall events. While no harm was done to the environment as a result of the breach, it provided further evidence of the importance of our $55 million Drouin wastewater treatment plant upgrade project, which is now well-advanced.

Of course, what matters most is how our customers and community assess our performance against the promises we made to them. With this in mind, we’ll be embarking on a program of customer and community engagement during the coming weeks to share the results contained within this report; check whether our assessments ring true and gain further insights into how we can do better for the communities we serve.

To find out more about results across our five customer values, click on the links below.

Find out more about our Guaranteed Service Levels .

Find out more about major projects .

Outcome 1: Customer value – Do your job well


Output

Unit

16-17

17-18

18-19

19-20

20-21

21-22

22-23

a

Unplanned water supply interruptions restored within 5 hours

Percentage

Target

98%

98%

98%

98%

98%

98%

98%

Actual

98.8%

98.62%

98.3%

97.16%

98.50%

b

Average time to rectify a sewer blockage

Minutes

Target

95

95

95

95

95

95

95

Actual

72.7

75.47

73.82

73.84

56.79

c

Sewer spills contained within 5 hours

Percentage

Target

98%

98%

98%

98%

98%

98%

98%

Actual

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

d

Population receiving water meeting E.Coli standards

Percentage

Target

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Actual

100%

100%

100%

100%

99.7%

e

Number of sewer spills within a house not contained within 1 hour.

Number

Target

NA

NA

0

0

0

0

0

Actual

NA

NA

0

0

0

f

Number of planned interruptions going over advised times.

Number

Target

NA

NA

0

0

0

0

0

Actual

NA

NA

0

5

3

g

Number of Safe Drinking Water Act non-compliances (water sampling and audit)

Number

Target

NA

NA

0

0

0

0

0

Actual

NA

NA

0

1

1


Overall outcome 1 performance for the regulatory period so far: Orange

Comment

We rated our overall performance against this theme as orange, given four of the seven agreed targets were met.

While we fell short on meeting our target for Indicator 1f - Number of planned interruptions going over advised times , it’s important to consider the result in context – out of 141 planned isolations, only three isolations or 2.1% went over the agreed time. All were completed with quality results, but took longer than expected because the location of the asset was either obstructed or difficult to get to, or the special techniques, materials and parts required to complete the repair.

On Monday 21 June 2021, a routine water quality compliance sample from the Boisdale water supply system was tested for E.Coli and returned a result of 1 organisms/100mL. The standard specified in the Safe Drinking Water Regulations is 0 organisms/100mL. We investigated the incident and submitted a report to the Department of Health, which confirmed that the detection was E.Coli. We put immediate corrective actions in place with no subsequent samples showing E.Coli detections, confirming the water was safe to drink.


Outcome 2: Customer value – Be easy to deal with


Output

Unit

16-17

17-18

18-19

19-20

20-21

21-22

22-23

a

Complaints investigated by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria

Number per 1000 customers

Target

0.08

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

Actual

0.06

0

0

0

0.01

b

Contacts are resolved at the first point of contact

Percentage

Target

NA

NA

88%

88%

88%

88%

88%

Actual

NA

NA

96%

97%

96.93%

c

Affected customers receiving a minimum of 5 days notification prior to a planned interruption taking place

Percentage

Target

NA

NA

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Actual

NA

NA

100%

100%

100%

d

Customers receive a response to correspondence within 5 days from receipt

Percentage

Target

NA

NA

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Actual

NA

NA

100%

100%

100%

Overall outcome 2 performance for the regulatory period so far: Green

Comment

We rated our performance against this target green because we achieved all of our targets.

This is our third consecutive year of no complaints escalating and requiring investigation by Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria).

We continue to provide our customers with a good experience when interacting with us by resolving the majority of enquiries at first point.

Using our complaints management framework and policy has contributed to our good results, streamlining our processes and improving customer response times and experience.

Outcome 3: Customer value – Be affordable and fair


Output

Unit

16-17

17-18

18-19

19-20

20-21

21-22

22-23

a

Prices contained to CPI + 0.57% per annum until 30 June 2023

Yes / No

Target

NA

NA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Actual

NA

NA

Yes

Yes

Yes

b

Customers in hardship program with water supply restricted for non-payment

Number

Target

NA

NA

0

0

0

0

0

Actual

NA

NA

0

0

0

c

Hardship customers paying through instalments

Percentage

Target

NA

NA

55%

55%

55%

55%

55%

Actual

NA

NA

59%

60%

62%

d

Customers over 120 days paying through instalments

Percentage

Target

NA

NA

23%

23%

23%

23%

23%

Actual

NA

NA

28%

25%

24%

Overall outcome 3 performance for the regulatory period so far: Green

Comment

We rated our performance against this outcome green, on the basis that we achieved all of our targets.

From 1 July 2021, our customers will see a further reduction in their bills. This is the third year in a row we’ve been able to reduce our service charges while usage charges have stayed relatively stable. In 2021-22, the average bill for a residential owner occupier will be reduced by an average of $14 – double the $7 average saving for regional water corporations around the state.

The impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are still being felt by our community. We’re mindful of this and have adapted our processes to continue to ensure anyone experiencing financial difficulties receives the best possible care from us. We’ve been proactively reach ing out to customers that may be struggling financially to let them know the options that are available to assist them and ultimately help them better manage their bills. As a result, the number of customers taking up payment plans during 2020-21 has increased, while the number of customers entering into our hardship program has decreased.

Helping our customers manage what they pay also helps us. By supporting our customers in hardship, we’ve been able to reduce our 90 day debt and strengthen our overall financial position.


Outcome 4: Customer value – Prepare and protect


Output

Unit

16-17

17-18

18-19

19-20

20-21

21-22

22-23

a

Total CO2 equivalent emissions

Tonnes (000's)

Target

70.0

70.0

43.1

43.6

43.7

38.6

36.7

Actual

37.5

37.88

43.73

34.75

35.38

b

Biosolids reuse

Percentage

Target

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

Actual

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100%

100%

c

Deliver all actions outlined in Gippsland Water’s 2017 Urban Water Strategy

Yes / No

Target

NA

NA

On track

On track

On track

On track

Yes

Actual

NA

NA

On track

On track

On track

d

Supply reliability of 95% (Water restrictions no more prevalent than 1 in 20 years)

Percentage

Target

NA

NA

95%

95%

95%

95%

95%

Actual

NA

NA

95%

95%

95%

e

Penalties issued by the Environment Protection Authority or the Department of Health and Human Services

Number

Target

NA

NA

0

0

0

0

0

Actual

NA

NA

0

0

1



Overall outcome 4 performance for the regulatory period so far: Orange

Comment

We assessed out performance for this outcome area as orange, primarily due to a low-level technical EPA licence breach.

Our overall emissions from electricity consumption decreased by less than one per cent (177t CO 2-e) compared to last financial year and overall, we remain on-track to achieve our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 24% by 2025. We achieved a one per cent (40 t CO 2-e) decrease in our water treatment emissions compared to the previous year, primarily due to the completion of our Moe-Warragul interconnect pipeline.

We constructed large solar installations at two more sites, meaning that six of our largest sites are now solar-operated. This helps reduce our overall emissions from the electricity consumption by a combined 1142 t CO 2-e or four per cent of our overall electricity consumption. All have been carefully planned to help us reduce our reliance on grid electricity in the future.

We continued to focus on finding operational efficiencies and kept our emissions consistent, despite undertaking major maintenance activities that meant our Biogas (Cogen) renewable energy system at the Gippsland Water Factory was out of action for extended periods of time.

We also continued preparations for the next stage of our solar installations at the Gippsland Water Factory, which will see a 1200 kWp ground-mounted solar array installed and operational in 2021-22. This system is expected to generate enough energy reduce our annual greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 2,000 t CO 2-e each year.

We’re on track to deliver the actions in our 2017 Urban Water Strategy, however the Boisdale aquifer long-term assessment is yet to start as it requires input from other organisations, such as DELWP and Southern Rural Water. DELWP in particular will be undertaking sustainability assessments of all Victorian aquifers during their EC5 funding tranche (2020-24), which will inform our work.

We met our performance target of at least 95% water supply reliability and no water restrictions imposed during 2020-21. Average demand levels in all of our systems remains below the current climate baseline yield as estimated in our 2017 Urban Water Strategy. Demand in our Tarago system continues to increase with high urban growth in Warragul and Drouin and our recently commissioned Moe-Warragul interconnect pipeline will help us continue to meet our supply reliability target. We’re currently reviewing all of our system demand and yield outlooks as we develop our 2022 Urban Water Strategy. This will take into account updated growth trends, DELWP climate guidelines, recent climate and water resource history.

The penalty issued by the EPA related low-level technical breaches of our EPA Drouin wastewater plant operating license during higher than average rainfall events. While no harm was done to the environment as a result of the breach, it provided further evidence of the importance of our $55 million Drouin wastewater treatment plant upgrade project, which is now well-advanced.

Outcome 5: Customer value – Be involved


Output

Unit

16-17

17-18

18-19

19-20

20-21

21-22

22-23

a

Operating and capital expenditure spent in Gippsland Water region – develop this measure by June 2020. (Targets can then be established for the subsequent years of the regulatory period.)

Yes / No

Target

NA

NA

On track

60%

53% 57% 60%

Actual

NA

NA

On track

60%

60%

b

Funding provided for community benefit projects

$ value

Target

NA

NA

$30,000

$30,000

$30,000

$30,000

$30,000

Actual

NA

NA

$49,200

$92,055

$64,261

Overall outcome 5 performance for the regulatory period so far: Green

Comment

We assessed our performance against this outcome area as green, on the basis that we achieved all of our targets.

We developed a measure for tracking our operating (including our +300 employee labour cost) and capital expenditure spend across our service area. Our Drouin wastewater treatment plant upgrade project accounted for 17% of our expenditure, with the head contractor being Melbourne-based. While this will remain the case for 2021-22, we anticipate our operating and capital expenditure will return to historical levels of around 60% sourced from within our service area.

We spent $64,261.50 on community benefit projects this year, more than doubling our target of $30,000. Of this amount, $11,841 was awarded to local community and not-for-profit organisations through our annual Community Support Program. A further $52,420.50 went to community health and environmental initiatives, including new 18 permanent drinking water installed throughout the region in partnership with local government and the community.

Over and above these financial contributions, we continued to support other community-focused initiatives including opening up environmentally important sites for recreational access; delivering community and school education programs; providing in-kind communications support to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund and supporting environmental projects.

About Us

Gippsland Water supplies fresh clean drinking water to more than 70,000 customers, and wastewater services to more than 63,000 customers across an area of more than 5,000 square kilometres. It maintains a $1 billion infrastructure network, which includes more than 2,000 kilometres of water mains, 15 water treatment plants, over 1,700 kilometres of sewer mains and 14 wastewater treatment plants.

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Contact Us

55 Hazelwood Road, Traralgon, VIC, 3844

Phone: 1800 050 500

Fax: (03) 5174 0103

Interpreter service: 1313 450


TTY: 1800 555 677

Email: contactus@gippswater.com.au