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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1293..


Utilities—licenses

(Question No 986)

Mr Smyth asked the Treasurer (redirected to the Acting Treasurer), upon notice, on 8 March 2006:

(1) Did the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission 2004-05 Compliance Report make reference to some inappropriate obligations and reporting difficulties; if so (a) what were these matters and (b) what was the response to these matters;

(2) Have you received any complaints from utilities licensed to operate in the ACT about the compliance obligations that are placed on these utilities; if so, what has been the nature of these complaints and what action has the ACT Government taken to respond to these complaints;

(3) Is any other action being considered to lessen the reporting burden placed on licensed utilities, particularly in view of the Commission's comment that reporting performance against some standards has proved difficult for licensees over the years;

(4) Has the ACT Government considered evaluating the compliance requirements placed on licensed utilities to identify any unnecessary compliance issues;

(5) Is he able to say what is the basis for the Commission's comment that it is pleased to see that the level of rebates paid has increased significantly over previous reporting periods, although still not to a level commensurate with the level of complaints made;

(6) Is there any evidence that some complaints may not be valid;

(7) What options are open to utilities to establish that a complaint may not be valid and that, therefore, a rebate may not be warranted.

Mr Stanhope

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(1a) The main difficulties related to the performance standards contained in the Consumer Protection Code and included:

    • customer connection times;
    • keeping agreed appointments;
    • responding to customer complaints;
    • response time to notify of a problem or concern;
    • planned and unplanned interruptions to utility services; and
    • water quality standards and sewage overflows.

More details are available in the paper prepared by the ICRC in May 2005, "Consultation Draft: Variations to Consumer Protection Code,"accessible from the ICRC's website1.

(1b) The Consumer Protection Code has been amended in response to the above matters. More details are available in the Explanatory Statement under the Utilities


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