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Residential Customer Charter (full version)

This Charter has been developed to clearly state our customer service commitments to you and inform you of your rights as a Yarra Valley Water customer.

Dear Customer

I am pleased to introduce our Residential Customer Charter. The Charter has been developed to clearly state our customer service commitments to you and inform you of your rights as a Yarra Valley Water customer.

It focuses on the particular needs and concerns of our residential customers. The initiatives outlined in this Charter illustrate our dedication to serving you better, through committing to 24 hour service in all areas, responding efficiently to your enquiries, and providing high quality water and sewerage services. I recommend you take the time to read this Charter now and keep it handy for future reference.

Pat McCafferty
Managing Director

  • Introduction

    Who is Yarra Valley Water?

    We are the largest of Melbourne’s three metropolitan water and sewerage corporations, providing water and sewerage services to over 1.9 million people and over 50,000 businesses in the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Our purpose is providing water and sewerage services that contribute to the health and wellbeing of current and future generations.

    Set up in January 1995, we maintain and operate over 19,000 kilometres of water and sewer mains, 46 water supply tanks and 10 sewage treatment plants. We purchase our water from Melbourne Water, which also operates the major sewage treatment works that service Melbourne. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality water and sewerage services as well as offering responsive customer support. We are also dedicated to ensuring our services are delivered in a way that has minimal effect on the environment.

    Our commitment to you

    This Charter outlines your rights and our obligations based upon the Customer Service Code issued by the Essential Services Commission (ESC). The ESC is the economic regulator of the Victorian water industry and their responsibility is to protect the interests of water and sewerage customers. This Charter also incorporates feedback from customers about what matters the most to them when it comes to their water and sewerage services. We engaged extensively with customers as part of our five year planning process for 2018-2023 (every five years we are required to propose the prices we will charge and our service standards to the ESC). This has helped us identify what customers prefer and value the most and has led to the creation of seven service outcomes based on what customers expect and value.

    Customers expect:

    • Water that is safe to drink.
    • Water and sewerage services they can rely on.
    • Fast response and effective restoration of their service when it is interrupted.

    Customers value:

    • Support for customers having difficulty paying their bill.
    • Modern, flexible services and advice that suits their needs.
    • Saving water now so it’s available in the future.
    • Looking after the environment.

    Detailed information about our commitments can be found in Appendix 2.

    About this charter

    This Charter is focused on the particular needs of residential customers. We also have a Charter for business customers. If you would like copies of the Charter either in Braille or large print, please call us on 1300 304 688. The Charter is also available in languages other than English – contact us on 1300 304 688 or by email [email protected] to obtain a copy.

    Hearing impaired services can also be obtained, please call 13 3677.

    The Customer Charter sets out your rights and obligations when dealing with us. The Charter also sets out Yarra Valley Water’s rights and obligations. You may enter into a separate agreement with us. However, such agreements cannot reduce your rights or increase your obligations under the Customer Charter without returning some corresponding benefit to you.

    The Customer Charter may only be changed after discussion with our Community Advisory Group and receiving approval from the Essential Services Commission.

    Shared rights and responsibilities

    Generally, our service levels are guaranteed to the connection points at your property boundary. The connection point for water supply is usually identified by a meter or stop tap at the property boundary that controls the flow of water to your property. The connection point with our sewer branch is usually just inside your property boundary. You may find out where your connection points are by calling 1300 304 688.

    The general rule is that we are responsible for maintaining the water service up to and including the property meter, and the sewer branch up to the property connection point or a maximum of one metre from the sewer main (whichever is shorter). All plumbing and pipe work from the property connection points to your residence is the property owner’s responsibility and is referred to as a private extension. In the case of an Owners Corporation or multi-resident development, a private extension will supply many residences.

    Customers who live in an Owners Corporation or multi-resident development and share a private extension need to be aware that we do not guarantee continuity of supply, water quality, or service interruptions within the private extension. However where individual meters are installed, we will read and maintain the meter in order to calculate your usage for billing purposes. If you have any concerns regarding a private extension that supplies more than one property, these need to be addressed by the Owners Corporation or owner of your multi-resident development.

  • Our service commitments

    Your rights to water supply

    We will ensure that the water we supply:

    • is in accordance with the Customer Service Code.
    • meets the minimum flow rates set out below.
    • is safe, clear and free from objectionable odour and taste.

    Subject to its general obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, Yarra Valley Water will ensure the supply of drinking water to the outlet of the meter, or to the property boundary if there is no meter, and that the quality of the water complies with the health related parameters of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Regulations.

    For customers on a private extension, these standards apply:

    • up to the outlet of the main property meter, or
    • to the point where the private extension connects to our water mains, where there is no property meter, or where the property is supplied by a private water main.

    After this access point where private extensions are in existence, the property owner is responsible.

    Diameter of the property service pipe (millimetres) 20 25 32 40 50
    Minimum flow rate (litres per minute) 20 35 60 90 160

    Note that:

    • single residential properties (houses) usually have a property service pipe of 20mm diameter.
    • the flow rate 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 Yarra Valley Water or a licensed plumber.

    For customers who request connection to a service which is available, we will approve the connection to your property within 10 working days or a later date as agreed if you have paid or agreed to pay all applicable connection fees and have complied with all the terms and conditions of connection.

    Yarra Valley Water is not required to provide a customer with the minimum flow rate if:

    • the property service pipe is the customer’s responsibility to maintain and is damaged or in poor condition, or
    • there is a planned or unplanned interruption of the customer’s water supply, or
    • there is a water shortage due to peak summer demand, or
    • supply is restricted or disconnected in accordance with the Customer Service Code, or
    • there is a water shortage due to a drought or an emergency, or
    • Melbourne Water Corporation has informed Yarra Valley Water that the water supply should be reduced to avoid a water shortage in the future such as during water restrictions and permanent water saving rules.

    For a breach of restrictions or permanent water saving rules, Yarra Valley Water may restrict the supply of water to a customer’s property. Please see yvw.com.au/waterrules for further details.

    Your rights to sewerage service

    We will supply you with sewerage services that are in accordance with the Customer Service Code. We will also take reasonable care in operating our sewerage system to avoid odours.

    Your rights if services are below standard

    We understand that any interruption to your drinking or recycled water supply or sewerage service is inconvenient and disruptive. We work hard to provide you with continuous access to these services, however this is not always possible. We will make every reasonable effort to minimise the number of interruptions to your water supply and sewerage services and to provide a timely response to an emergency.

    Where there is an interruption to your water supply caused by a problem or fault in our system we will:

    • restore it within four hours of notification.
    • ensure that you have access to emergency water supplies for drinking purposes.
    • ensure that information about the interruption and how to obtain emergency water supplies is available from our 24 hour faults line on 13 2762.

    We will:

    • give you one week’s notice of any planned interruptions to our services (including when they will occur and for how long).
    • ensure that planned interruptions to your water supply do not occur during the peak periods of 5am to 9am or 5pm to 11pm.
    • ensure that there are no more than a total of two unplanned interruptions to either your water supply or sewerage services in any 12 month period.

    Please report bursts or leaks to us on 13 2762. We will respond promptly to inspect and repair them. In serious incidents, we will get to the scene as soon as we can and solve the problem within four hours of interrupting the supply. In all other cases we will aim to inspect the problem within seven hours and rectify the problem within five days.

    If your sewer becomes blocked please contact us for advice on 13 2762. If the blockage is our responsibility, we will correct the fault ourselves. If the blockage is your responsibility, you will have to arrange and pay for a licensed plumber to rectify it.

    Your rights in relation to sewage spills

    Where a sewage spill occurs on your property due to a failure in our system, we will:

    • respond promptly.
    • minimise the damage and inconvenience to you by ensuring that the sewage spill is contained as soon as possible – within one hour if the spill is inside your house and within four hours for other spills on your property.
    • clean up the affected area as quickly as possible and in such a manner that the risk to human health is negligible.
    • ensure that no cost burden is borne by the customer regarding cleaning the spill.

    If you are not satisfied with the standard of clean up, please contact us so we can understand your concerns and work with you to resolve them. If you are still dissatisfied with the standard of cleaning, seek the advice of the Environmental Health Officer at your local council.

    If the spill was caused by a blockage or problem with your property’s internal plumbing, you will have to arrange for a licensed plumber to rectify the blockage and pay for the spill to be cleaned up.

    Your rights to register special health needs

    You have a right to register with us if you need water for a life support machine. You may also register other special medical needs with us. Once you are registered, we will contact you at least one week before a planned interruption (and as soon as possible after an unplanned interruption) to minimise any inconvenience. We also provide water as a priority to major hospitals and emergency medical units.

    Your rights to collect rainwater, recycle greywater and composting toilets

    You have a right to collect and store rainwater for your own use. You may recycle greywater for non-drinking purposes. You may install a composting toilet that does not require connection to our water or sewerage systems. Before you collect rainwater, recycle domestic wastewater or install a composting toilet, you should think about the possible health issues and the risk of flooding. You should also contact your local council for advice and approvals where appropriate, as you need to comply with the requirements of the Health Act, the Building Act, the Environment Protection Authority Publication 891.3 Code of Practice Onsite Wastewater Management and 884 Greywater use around the home.

    Buying or selling a property

    If you are buying or selling a property we guarantee to provide prompt, accurate information to you, your conveyancer or solicitor, through our PropertyFlow service. Contact us for more information on 1300 304 688.

    Building or renovating a house

    If you need additional connections to the mains, we will provide services to you or your plumber promptly and conveniently through our online system, easyACCESS. When you need a new connection to our water supply we will ensure our service is provided to a mutually agreed deadline.

    If you are building or renovating, please ensure you seek advice to determine that there is sufficient water pressure available to meet the needs of any changes at your property.

    Contact us for more information on 1300 651 511 or at [email protected]. Visit yvw.com.au/applications for all development applications.

    Your rights to compensation

    We will provide our service with due care and skill and meet our obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Any materials provided in connection with this service will be reasonably fit for the purpose for which they are intended. If we fail to perform our functions adequately causing you financial loss, you may be able to claim compensation.

    Service commitments and rebates

    We are committed to high standards of performance. If we fail to meet these standards, you may be eligible for a rebate on your bill. Appendix 2 outlines our Service Commitments.

    We will provide a rebate automatically to you whenever we become aware that we have failed to meet a Service Commitment. If you believe you are entitled to a rebate you may apply by calling 1300 304 688 or emailing us at [email protected] We will review your request and if eligible, any rebate will be deducted from your next account.

  • Charges and billing

    Charges and rates

    We bill you for:

    • Water Supply and Sewerage System Charges – service charges to provide water and sewerage connections.
    • Usage Charges – water usage and sewage disposal charges.
    • Other Authority Charges – rates on behalf of Melbourne Water for waterways and drainage, and Parks Victoria for Parks services.

    As the owner of a property you pay for:

    • Water Supply and Sewerage System Charges, and Usage Charges (including charges for sewage disposal), unless, as outlined below a tenant must pay them.
    • Any rates billed by us on behalf of Parks Victoria services and Melbourne Water for waterways and drainage from customers who own a property within Melbourne Water’s Waterways Management District.

    As a residential tenant or caravan park resident you will only pay charges for usage (water and sewage disposal) where:

    • your water has been separately metered.
    • your landlord has told us that you are the tenant.
    • we have read the meter or estimated it when access is unavailable.

    As an Owners Corporation development or central body for multi residences, we will bill you for usage charges relating to common land and facilities, e.g. a common grounds watering system. We may also bill you for usage charges for residences forming part of your site that are not individually metered.

    Reducing your account

    Using water efficiently can help to reduce the usage charges on your account. We will provide you with water efficiency advice to help you save. Phone 1300 304 688 for details or visit yvw.com.au/savingwater.

    Your rights with regard to charges

    When there are any changes to usage, water supply and sewerage system charges, we will tell you about them with your first account after the change takes place. We calculate your Sewage Disposal Charge using a standard formula. You have the right to ask us to review the formula if you believe it substantially and systematically overstates the estimated volume. You need to provide reasons in support of your request for the estimate to be reviewed. Any request for a review should be made in writing to the Manager, Customer Contact Centre, Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132 or email [email protected]. You also have the option of installing a meter on your outside taps (at your cost). This will allow the calculation of your Sewage Disposal Charge to better reflect your individual usage. Please call 1300 304 688 for further details.

    Yarra Valley Water’s schedule of fees and charges are available at yvw.com.au/pricing or call us on 1300 304 688.

    Billing cycles

    We will bill you quarterly for water supply and sewerage system charges, usage (water usage and sewage disposal), waterways and drainage. All customers will be billed annually for the Parks Charge. We will include information on your account to help you understand the account.

    You can choose to receive bills by email or post. Register for email bills at yvw.com.au, via your online account at yvw.com.au/online or call us on 1300 304 688.

    We can also issue bills to a nominated agent or any other person authorised to act on your behalf, if you have advised us in writing.

    Under or overcharging

    If you are overcharged, we will inform you within 10 days of confirming the error and you will receive a credit or refund.

    If you are undercharged due to our error, we will only seek to recover sums incurred during the 12 months prior to your last account. You will be able to pay the amount to be recovered in instalments or under a flexible payment plan. If you have been undercharged due to your illegal use of water, the amount to be recovered will not be limited to the amount undercharged in the 12 months prior to us notifying you that the undercharging has occurred.

    Where we have undercharged because of a customer’s illegal use we will estimate the usage for which the customer has not paid.

    Paying your account

    You must pay your account by the due date as shown on your bill. Payment methods include:

    • Direct debit by bank account.
    • BPay.
    • Credit card - online at yvw.com.au/paying, via your online account at yvw.com.au/ online or by phone on 1300 362 332.
    • Cheque - mail to GPO Box 2860, Melbourne VIC 3001.
    • In person at any post office, phone 13 1816 or go to postbillpay.com.au.
    • Centrepay if you receive a Centrelink payment.

    For the latest payment methods, please refer to your account, visit yvw.com.au/paying or call 1300 304 688.

    Alternative payment arrangements

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

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

    We are not required to offer a flexible payment plan if you have, in the previous 12 months, had two flexible payment plans cancelled due to non-payment, unless you can provide reasonable assurance you will comply with the plan.

    If you would like to discuss alternative payment arrangements please call us on 1800 994 789.

    Concessions

    You are eligible for State Government funded concessions on your water and sewerage charges if you hold a recognised concession card such as a Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card or Gold Card (for all conditions except Dependant). For details of your concession entitlement, visit yvw.com.au/concessions or contact us on 1300 304 688.

    Payment difficulties

    If you are having trouble paying your account, please contact us on 1800 994 789. We will help you by:

    • providing information on government assistance that may be available to you.
    • arranging an alternative payment scheme that takes account of your capacity to pay.
    • providing you with access to free and independent financial counselling.

    We were instrumental in the development of an industry Code of Practice for customers experiencing financial hardship and have put in place a Hardship Policy to ensure we are sensitive to their specific needs. If you are experiencing financial hardship our Customer Support Team will provide additional assistance by:

    • allowing you to renegotiate the amount of your payment if there is a demonstrable change in your circumstances.
    • enabling you to choose from various payment methods, and receive written confirmation of the agreed payment arrangement within 14 days.
    • offering to extend the due date of your bill for some or all of the amount owed.
    • providing you with access to a language interpreter service at no cost.
    • not restricting your water supply as long as you have agreed to a payment arrangement.
    • not charging you debt recovery costs and shielding you from legal action, while you make payments according to our agreed payment plan.
    • redirect your bill to another person for payment, provided that person agrees in writing.

    Yarra Valley Water’s Hardship Policy can be viewed at yvw.com.au/hardship or contact us on 1800 994 789 to request a copy.

    Payment difficulties due to family violence

    Your information will be kept confidential

    If you are affected by family violence, your safety and privacy will be respected at all times. We will not disclose any information you give us to anyone else, even if their name is on the account. Also, only Yarra Valley Water’s Customer Support Team will have access to your personal details. Your personal and billing information cannot be accessed by any other staff.

    If your joint account hasn’t been paid

    We provide support and assistance if you are affected by family violence and have been left with debt. We will work with you to find a solution for your individual situation. If there are multiple account holders, we can elect who we pursue for the outstanding balance.

    Buying, selling and leasing property

    If you are buying, selling or transferring your property to a new owner

    You don’t need to contact us about the property you are buying or selling or to finalise your account. Your solicitor or conveyancer will manage the water usage and final bill for your property as part of the settlement process. We will also create an account for your new property as part of the settlement process.

    If you are not engaging a solicitor or conveyancer to manage the sale of your property, contact us on 1300 304 688.

    If you are a tenant moving out of a rental property

    To organise your final bill, at least two days before moving out please:

    • Advise us of your move out date online at yvw.com.au/moving or call us on 1300 304 688.
    • Tell us your forwarding address for your final bill. Your final bill will usually arrive within one week of the date you move out.
    • Ensure we have access to your meter for the final reading - this means you won’t need to pay for water usage after you move out.

    If you don’t notify us within two days of moving out, the account will be finalised two days after we receive your request.

    Restriction or disconnection

    We will make all reasonable efforts to help you pay your account. However if you have not paid 28 days after we sent the first account, have been contacted by us or sent a warning notice in reference to non-payment and information regarding our Hardship Policy, we may take legal action or restrict your water supply in order to recover the debt. You are likely to face additional costs if either of these steps are taken.

    Restriction and legal action

    We will not restrict your water supply or commence legal action:

    • without explaining alternative payment options or giving you a chance to get the benefit of a concession or utility relief grant.
    • if there is a dispute as to the amount owing.
    • if you owe less than $200.
    • if you are a tenant and your landlord is responsible for the debt.
    • if you are in financial hardship.

    We will not restrict your water supply:

    • if you need water for a life support machine or other special needs.
    • after 3pm on Monday to Thursday, on a Friday, a weekend, a public holiday or the day before a public holiday.
    • if the restriction will cause a health hazard having taken into consideration any customer concerns.
    • if it is a day of total fire ban declared by the Country Fire Authority in the area you are located.

    We may also restrict or disconnect our water supply for other reasons if, for example, the pipes on the property are not properly constructed or maintained, or you have breached the Water Act 1989. However, a tenant’s water supply will not be restricted or disconnected if the owner hasn’t paid for outstanding charges the owner is responsible for, except to protect water purity, public health or safety, the environment, or our system.

    We will issue reminder notices if payment is not made by the due date and warning notices at least seven days prior to taking action for non-payment.

    Reconnection will be prompt when the reason for disconnection no longer persists, or when you have submitted in writing your compliance in a form which has been approved, or when you have provided a payment.

    Minimum flow rate during restriction

    If your water supply is restricted, the flow rate will be at least two litres per minute at the tap nearest the meter. If the restriction will cause a health hazard, contact us on 13 2762.

    Restoring supply

    When the reason for restriction or disconnection has been resolved, we will restore your water supply on payment of a fee. This will be done within 24 hours.

  • Meters

    Your water usage is based on the amount of water measured by a meter. The Sewage Disposal Charge is calculated by a formula that also uses the amount of water measured by a meter.

    Access to meter

    The meter must be accessible so it can be read regularly. Where we cannot read your meter, we may ask you to do so on our behalf. If you do not provide a reading, we may estimate the amount of water you use. The estimation will be calculated on your water usage history and any necessary adjustments will be made the next time we read your meter. If you cannot make your meter accessible to us, we can arrange for a remote reading device to be fitted, on payment of a fee. A remote meter reading system may be installed in a multi-unit development so that meters can be read from a single location. The installation of a remote meter reading system must still comply with access requirements as laid out above.

    Testing your meter

    We take all reasonable steps to ensure your meter reads accurately. If you think that your meter is reading high, you may request us to test it. All meter testing is carried out by an independent company to a nationally approved standard. We will provide you with the results of the test within five working days of its completion.

    If the test shows that the meter is not meeting required accuracy standards, we will replace it. We will also credit your account with any amount you were overcharged.

    If the test shows that the meter was working accurately, you will be responsible for paying the cost of the test.

    Special meter reading

    At any time including when you’re moving in or out of your property, you may request an additional account or meter reading outside the normal billing cycle. If the meter needs to be read, a fee may apply.

  • Responsibilities for maintenance

    Water supply and sewerage services

    Our responsibility

    The general rule is that we are responsible for maintaining the water service up to and including the property meter. In the following situations, we are responsible for maintaining:

    • The water service to the property boundary if the meter is more than two metres inside the property boundary.
    • The sewer branch up to the property connection point or a maximum of one metre from the sewer main (whichever is shorter).
    • Up to the property connection point where a stop valve or tap controls the flow of water to your private extension.

    In the case of Owners Corporation developments or multi-resident developments we are responsible for maintaining:

    • The water service up to and including the main property meter, which is usually located at the property boundary.
    • The water service to the property boundary if the meter is more than two metres inside the property boundary.
    • Up to the first accessible stop valve from the water main if the meter is located inside a structure or building. This may be some distance from your residence.
    • Individual meters (excluding private extensions to individual meters) where they are installed.

    If the property has a private fire service, Yarra Valley Water is responsible for maintaining up to the stop valve at the main. Property owners are responsible for the private fire service.

    Your responsibility

    All plumbing and pipe work from our water and sewer connection points to your residence (private extensions) are the responsibility of the property owner.

    Galvanised iron pipes

    Many properties in older areas have galvanised iron property service pipes. These pipes have a detrimental impact on water quality and pressure. We will replace a galvanised iron property service pipe at no charge if you replace the galvanised iron pipes on your side of the meter. This will ensure optimum water quality and flow to your property.

    If a galvanised iron property service pipe needs replacing and you choose not to replace your galvanised iron pipes, you will be responsible for the cost of replacement of the property service pipe up to $500. We will pay any costs in excess of $500. This only applies to single residential dwellings and where the replacement is for any other reason than leakage. We will replace at no cost to the customer a leaking galvanised iron property service pipe.

    Exceptions to the general rule are:

    • property service pipes with a diameter over 50 mm.
    • private extensions.
    • property service pipes from private extensions.
  • Our rights and your right of review and appeal

    We can require property owners to remove trees and contribute to the cost of works undertaken by us. We will exercise this right in accordance with the Water Act 1989 and the Customer Service Code. If you object to a decision made by us in exercising our rights, you may have the decision reviewed by us and, in some cases, by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. We will explain your rights when exercising our rights or making decisions.

    Notice of works

    Our activities may affect you even if your water supply or sewerage service is maintained, e.g. when we need to dig

    up the road outside your house. We will give you one week’s notice of works that may affect you, except in an emergency. Where we undertake any works, we will leave the street or property in a state similar to when works commenced. Any works undertaken by us will comply with safety standards set by VicRoads or any other relevant safety standard.

    Entry onto your property

    We have the right to enter your property for a number of purposes such as reading a meter or in an emergency. We will give you seven days’ notice in writing of our intention to enter your property to carry out any works, except in an emergency, or unless you consent to a shorter period. We do not have to give you notice to enter your property to read a meter. We will not enter your property between the hours of 6pm to 7.30am unless we have your consent, there is an emergency, or we have reasonable grounds to believe there has been a breach of the Water Act 1989. Our employees or contractors will carry identification at all times which must be provided on request.

    If you are not at home, we will leave a notification behind to let you know that we came by and the reason for our visit.

    You must tell us of dangers

    We request you inform us of anything on your property that may be dangerous to our employees, for example, a guard dog.

  • Consultation, information and privacy

    Engaging and involving customers

    We have established a Community Advisory Group to enable community input into our service planning and decision making. Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We value the contribution all members make to our business. In addition, a sample of customers will be surveyed about our performance and the results will be published, at least once a year.

    Water quality, conservation and the environment

    We will:

    • monitor water quality and publish the results annually.
    • provide water and sewerage services that meet sustainable standards of environmental care. This will be achieved by continuously improving our environmental performance and by addressing the expectations of our customers, the community and the government.
    • demonstrate a long term commitment to our customers and the community at large that we are being active and effective in relation to water conservation and the efficient use of water. This will be achieved by publishing the results of the corporation’s environmental performance on an annual basis to provide customers with a record of performance achieved over the previous 12 months and the targets for the forthcoming year.

    Requests for information

    On request we will provide you with information such as:

    • copies of this Charter.
    • copies of the Customer Service Code.
    • your account history, including water used, charges and payments (your last three years’ history is available
    • on computer so that questions may be answered over the phone).
    • an Information Statement (for a fee) stating encumbrances or outstanding orders, and outstanding charges in respect of any property in our area.
    • educational material about using water efficiently.
    • current lists of prices and contact numbers.
    • information materials for customers with special communication needs.

    We may refuse to provide account information and usage history if it contravenes our family violence policy.

    Privacy

    We recognise that your privacy is of great importance and we are committed to ensuring your personal information is protected. We collect personal information for the purpose of providing water and sewerage related services and products, which includes promotion of these services and products and market research. We may disclose your personal information to our contractors for these purposes and other third parties including Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria.

    Where we hold your personal information in conjunction with others (e.g. where your account is a joint one), we will not disclose your personal details to other account holders without your express permission. Please contact us if you wish to arrange for someone else to have access to your account details. You may request access to your personal information that we hold by writing to the Privacy Officer at Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132. Please note that we may charge you the reasonable cost of processing your request. We have developed a Privacy Policy to ensure that personal information about our customers is safeguarded. Our Privacy Policy represents how we handle personal information in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles outlined in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

    Visit yvw.com.au/privacy or call 1300 304 688 for a copy of the Privacy Policy.

  • Enquiries, complaints and disputes

    Enquiries

    If you have an enquiry you may call us on 1300 304 688. You will receive a prompt, courteous response and the name of the person who is handing your enquiry. If you experience any problems with your water or sewerage services, please call us on 13 2762. We are available to take your call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also make an enquiry by writing to Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132 or emailing us at [email protected]. We will reply to correspondence within four working days of receiving your enquiry or one working day of receiving your email.

    Complaints

    If you have a complaint please let us know by calling our Customer Relations Team on 1800 051 379. You can also write to us at Yarra Valley Water, Private Bag 1, Mitcham VIC 3132. We will respond promptly to your complaint and will do our best to make sure the problem is resolved to your satisfaction. Our reply will give the reasons for our decision.

    If you are not satisfied with the reply, our disputes procedure gives you the following rights:

    • You may have the complaint re-assessed by a senior manager.
    • You also have the right to seek external resolution of a problem that cannot be resolved to your satisfaction by other means.

    You may contact the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria by phone on 1800 500 509 or by mail to Reply Paid 469, Melbourne, VIC 8060. The Ombudsman provides an independent complaints and dispute resolution scheme to assist water and energy customers. Depending on the nature of the problem, you may also contact the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Environment Protection Authority or the courts. Our Customer Relations Team will advise you further about these options.

    Disputes over money

    If your complaint involves a dispute over money you owe, we will not seek payment of the amount unless the dispute has been resolved in our favour. However, you must pay any other portion of your account that does not directly relate to your complaint. For information on our complaints and disputes handling process, please visit yvw.com.au/feedback.

  • Appendix 1

    Definitions

    Complaint means a written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction about an action, a proposed action, or a failure to act by Yarra Valley Water, its employees or contractors. (See also the definition of enquiry below).

    Customer broadly means someone who buys our water or discharges waste into our sewerage system. A person is a customer and is covered by the charter if they:

    • own and occupy a serviced property connected to Yarra Valley Water’s water supply and/or sewerage systems
    • own a serviced property connected to Yarra Valley Water’s water supply and/or sewerage systems, but do not occupy it – for example, a landlord or an owner of an unoccupied property
    • occupy a property connected to Yarra Valley Water’s water supply and/or sewerage systems and are liable to pay water usage and/or sewage disposal charges for example, a tenant or caravan park resident, or
    • have entered into a separate written agreement with Yarra Valley Water for water supply and sewerage services.

    Enquiry means a written or verbal approach by a customer that can be satisfied by providing written or verbal information, advice, assistance, clarification, explanation, or referral about a matter.

    Financial hardship is where a customer desires to pay, but due to financial difficulties is unable to pay within the timeframe set out in our payment terms.

    Greywater consists of all non toilet wastewater. It includes wastewater from showers, spas, baths, hand basins, washing machines, dishwashers and laundry troughs.

    Interruption means, in the case of a customer’s water supply, a total loss of water supply to the property; or in the case of a customer’s sewerage service, the customer is unable to dispose of sewage through the sewer pipes on their property into Yarra Valley Water’s sewerage system.

    Landlord means any person who leases a property to a customer.

    Maintenance includes repair and/or replacement.

    Multi-resident development means a group of units or allotments that may or may not share common property other than those covered by a registered plan of subdivision.

    Owners Corporation development means a group of units or allotments that share common property. This may include infrastructure or land. An Owners Corporation development is incorporated by registration of a plan of subdivision.

    Planned interruption means an interruption to sewer or water supply that is caused by Yarra Valley Water to allow planned works to be carried out.

    Private extension means the pipes and associated fittings from the water and sewer property connection points (usually located at the property boundary) to the customer’s premises. A private extension may supply a single residence or multiple residences in the case of an Owners Corporation development or multi-resident development. The property owner is responsible for maintenance of private extensions. Private extensions also cover assets previously defined as trunk services and combined drains.

    Private fire service is a privately owned and maintained asset for fire protection and it is essential it operates effectively in an emergency situation. A fire service includes all pipework and assets into a property excluding the stop valve on Yarra Valley Water’s main and the water meter (where fitted).

    Property service pipe means the pipe from Yarra Valley Water’s water main to the meter assembly, or to the stop tap near the property boundary where no meter is fitted.

    Recycled water means Class A recycled water supplied by a third pipe and as defined in the EPA Victoria publication 464.2 Guidelines for Environmental Management: Use of Reclaimed Water.

    Sewage means any human excreta or domestic waterborne waste, whether untreated or partially treated. It does not include trade waste or stormwater.

    Sewerage services means the functions described in Part 9 of the Water Act 1989.

    Tenant means a customer who rents a property from another person.

    Trade waste has the definition given in regulations made under the Water Act 1989.

    Unplanned interruption means an interruption that is caused by a fault in Yarra Valley Water’s system or a fault which is the maintenance responsibility of Yarra Valley Water.

    Water means both drinking water and recycled water unless otherwise stated.

    Water Act 1989 includes any amendments of or regulations under that Act.

    Water Industry Act 1994 includes any amendments of or regulations under that Act.

  • Appendix 2

    Service commitments

    We are committed to providing high standards of service. If we fail to meet these standards you may be eligible for a rebate if you occupy a property that we supply. The rebates granted on these service commitments have been approved by the Essential Services Commission. Rebates will be applied without the customer needing to make an application. However we are not required to give a rebate if an event is caused by, or is the responsibility, of the customer or a third party.

    $50 REBATE FOR PLANNED INTERRUPTIONS TO WATER AND SEWER SUPPLY

    Sometimes we undertake planned works on our pipes and other infrastructure. We may need to turn off the water or interrupt sewerage services to inspect or replace a pipe. We will give you a $50 rebate if:

    • We interrupt your water for more than five hours.
    • We fail to give at least one week’s notice of planned water interruptions.
    • The planned interruption is longer than we said it would be.
    • We interrupt your water between 5am and 9am and/or 5pm and 11pm.

    $50 REBATE FOR UNPLANNED INTERRUPTIONS TO WATER AND SEWER SUPPLY

    Sometimes emergencies happen when our water mains burst or sewers become blocked which means we need to turn the water or sewer off without warning.

    We will give a $50 rebate if:

    • Your water supply is lost for more than four hours – you will receive an additional $50 if this extends to more than 12 hours.
    • We fail to restore a sewerage service within four hours – you will receive an additional $50 if this extends to more than 12 hours. This does not include sewer service interruptions caused by your pipe work
    • You experience more than two unplanned water or sewerage interruptions during any 12 month period - $50 for the third and each subsequent unplanned interruption.
    • You contact us about two or more separate water quality issues in a 12 month period - $50 for the third and each subsequent issue.

    $300 REBATE

    At different times in our lives our needs change which can sometimes result in financial difficulty. To help in these times, Yarra Valley Water has a Hardship Policy in place which defines our approach to supporting customers experiencing either temporary or permanent hardship. This policy ensures all customers requiring additional support are treated with respect and sensitivity and shielded from restriction of supply and further recovery action.

    We will therefore provide a $300 rebate if we commence legal action or take steps to restrict a residential customer’s water supply prior to taking reasonable endeavours to contact the customer and provide information about the help that is available for customers experiencing financial difficulty.

    REBATES FOR SEWAGE SPILLS CAUSED BY A FAULT IN OUR SEWERAGE SYSTEM

    We know that sewage spills cause particular inconvenience and concern. We will therefore give the following rebates to customers if:

    • We fail to contain a sewage spill within your house within one hour of it being reported to us - $1,000 rebate.
    • You experience a subsequent sewage spill in your house within 12 months which isn’t contained within one hour of it being reported to us - $2,000 rebate.
    • We fail to contain a sewage spill on your property within four hours of it being reported to us - $1,000 rebate.
    • You experience a subsequent sewage spill on your property within 12 months which isn’t contained within four hours of it being reported to us - $2,000 rebate.

    ADDITIONAL COMMITMENTS

    • If we do not provide an adequate water flow rate (unless there is a restriction in place), we will waive the Water Supply System Charge until we meet the minimum standard rate.
    • If we do not reply to your contact within four working days, you will receive a $50 rebate.
  • Customer service code standards

    Consistent with the requirements outlined in the ESC’s Customer Service Code, we have also set additional service and other targets that we will aim to meet over the coming years. These commitments do not attract a rebate.

    Approved service commitments

    WATER

    2018/19 to 2022/23

     

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

    43.7

     

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

    87.9

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

    801.7

    Average frequency of unplanned water supply interruptions (per 1,000 customers)

    0.29

    Average duration of unplanned water supply interruptions (minutes)

    110.3

    Average duration of planned water supply interruptions (minutes)

    127.5

    SEWERAGE

    2018/19 to 2022/23

    Average time to attend sewer spills and blockages (minutes)

    82.3

    Average time to rectify a sewer blockage (minutes)

     

    Spills contained within five hours (%)

    97.2

    Average frequency of unplanned sewerage interruptions (per 1,000 customers)

    0.01

    Minimum flow rates

    Property service pipe diameter (millimetres)

    20

    25

    32

    40

    50

    Flow rate (litres per minute)

     

    20

    35

    60

    90

    160

  • Customer driven outcomes for 2018/19 to 2022/23

    When we consulted with customers during our five year planning process for 2018/19 to 2022/23, our customers told us that the following seven outcomes are important to them.

    We are committed to achieving these targets and if a target is not achieved, we will reduce prices to customers in the following year, by $1.5 million for each target not achieved.

    OUTCOME MEASURE TARGET        
        2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23

    Safe drinking water

    Compliance with safe drinking water standards

    100%

    100%

    100%

    100%

    100%

    Reliable water and sewerage services

    Percentage of customers who experience three or more unplanned water or sewerage service interruptions in 12 months

    0.96%

    0.96%

    0.96%

    0.96%

    0.96%

    Timely response and restoration

    Percentage of customers whose service has been restored within four hours

     

    91.1%

    91.1%

    91.1%

    91.1%

    91.1%

    Fair access and assistance for all

     

    Percentage of customers who believe that Yarra Valley Water helps customers experiencing difficulty paying for their water and sewerage services

    89%

    89%

    89%

    89%

    89%

    Water availability and conservation

    Total water usage (litres/per person/per day)

    221

    217

    213

    211

    210

    Modern flexible service

    Percentage of customers who are satisfied with their most recent customer interaction

    86%

    86%

    86%

    86%

    86%

    Care for and protect the environment

    Percentage reduction in emissions (cumulative)

    5.8%

    16.1%

    32.8%

    47.1%

    53.4%

  • Appendix 3

    Class A recycled water is produced according to strict guidelines developed by the Victorian Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Health and Human Services. These high standards are ensured through process control and quality assurance systems including continuous monitoring throughout the treatment facility.

    While Class A recycled water has been treated to a high standard, it is not intended for human consumption. Testing and monitoring the quality and integrity of the recycled water system may involve occasionally adding substances to recycled water to allow us to detect noncompliant connections.

    From time to time at our discretion, we may need to temporarily supply your property with drinking water instead of recycled water. When drinking water is supplied instead of recycled water, you will still be charged at recycled water rates.

    The following are acceptable uses of recycled water:

    • Toilet flushing.
    • Washing clothes.
    • Garden use.
    • Washing cars.
    • Filling ornamental ponds*.
    • Industrial uses approved by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    * The water may need to be changed regularly as algae may grow due to the nutrients in recycled water.

    Class A recycled water is not suitable for:

    • Drinking.
    • Cooking, food preparation or other kitchen use.
    • Showering and bathing.
    • Bidets and sanitary sprays.
    • Evaporative coolers.
    • Indoor house cleaning.
    • Swimming pools or spas.
    • Children’s slip and slides or other water toys.

    If you would like to discuss the use of recycled water, please contact us on 1300 304 688.

    Customer rights

    As a customer in a Yarra Valley Water recycled water area you can expect:

    • a recycled water supply that meets regulatory health requirements established by the Department of Health and Human Services and environmental standards established by the Environment Protection Authority.
    • recycled water supply that is not interrupted more than two times in a 12 month period due to unplanned events.
    • planned interruptions to your recycled water supply will not occur during peak hours (5 am – 9 am and 5 pm – 11 pm) and will take no longer than five hours.
    • when there is an unplanned recycled water supply interruption, we will turn off the water as soon as possible to reduce leakage, and it will be restored within four hours.
    • that where a burst recycled water main threatens substantial or moderate property or environmental damage, we will attend the site as soon as we can after being notified.

    Residential customer rebates

    Yarra Valley Water is committed to delivering high standards of service. If we fail to meet this commitment to you by not meeting our Guaranteed Service Levels, you will be eligible for a rebate on your next bill. These rebates, as outlined in the service commitments section of this charter, apply to both planned and unplanned (emergency) works, and are valid whether the interruptions are to the drinking or recycled water systems.

    Your account

    Your quarterly account will generally include two types of charges for both drinking and recycled water. The first are fixed water supply and sewerage system charges and the second are volumetric charges relating to water usage and sewage disposal, based on meter readings, which are taken four times a year.

    Class A recycled water will be separately metered and charges will appear separately on your account.

    The Sewage Disposal Charge takes into account volumetric usage from both drinking and recycled water.

  • Contact us

    Enquiries

    1300 304 688

    Faults & emergencies

    13 2762  (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

    Translating & interpreting service

    Arabic العربية

    1300 914 361
    http://www.yvw.com.au/online/Arabic 

    Cantonese 廣東話

    1300 921 362
    http://www.yvw.com.au/online/cantonese 

    Greek Eλληνικά

    1300 931 364
    http://www.yvw.com.au/online/greek 

    Mandarin 普通话

    1300 927 363
    http://www.yvw.com.au/online/mandarin 

    Other languages

    For all other languages please call 1300 976 224 (local call cost in Australia) 8.30am - 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    Email [email protected]

    Lucknow Street Mitcham Victoria 3132
    Private Bag 1 Mitcham Victoria 3132
    ABN 93 066 902 501
    yvw.com.au