We amended our water customer service codes to include national support principles for customers facing hardship due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Adopting national coronavirus support principles into water codes 2020
From 1 December 2021, according to section 187A(2) of the Water Industry Act 1994, the Customer Service Codes are taken to be Water Industry Standards made under section 4F of the Water Industry Act 1994.
We temporarily amended our water customer service codes to incorporate National Cabinet agreed principles for hardship support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Embedding these national principles into our codes ensured Victoria’s consumer protection framework was:
- accessible for the benefit of all.
Many of the protections outlined in the national principles were already regulated in some way through our water customer service codes. Areas extended by the national principles include:
- expanded hardship support for small businesses customers
- coronavirus specific measures such as halting supply restrictions, debt collection and debt recovery.
We also recognise that some of the national principles' measures were designed to be temporary and elements were already being considered a part of business as usual practice prior to the pandemic. For example, the emphasis on proactive communications and extending support to small business customers. Stakeholders who took part in our 2019 review of the water customer service codes supported including these elements into a reformed water customer service code. This review looked at which elements of the national principles ought to be carried forward into a reformed code.
The affected codes are the:
- Customer Service Code – Urban Water Businesses
- Rural Water Customer Service Code.
Our decision to amend the codes
This paper outlines our decision to amend our water customer service codes to incorporate national support principles
Read our media release on this decision
Reporting on water customer support during the coronavirus pandemic
Each month during the coronavirus pandemic we are reporting on the number of water customers who are receiving various forms of support from their water business.
Find out more about the National Cabinet support principles
On 9 April 2020, the National Cabinet agreed on a policy approach and a set of principles to support households and small businesses facing hardship in paying for essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
These national principles are intended to protect both residential and small business customers experiencing financial stress during the coronavirus pandemic.
See our updated customer service codes
See our work promoting accessible and effective communications
Find out more about the ongoing review of our water customer service codes
We are reviewing our urban and rural water customer service codes to ensure they continue to meet the needs of Victorian water consumers