Consultation on the Water Industry Competition (General) Regulation 2022

Background

The Water Industry Competition Act 2006 (WIC Act) was amended in late 2021 following a comprehensive review of the Act’s operation. The main changes included:

  • better targeting of regulation to focus on high-risk, utility-like schemes including those operated by metropolitan councils
  • separating the granting of licences from the approval of individual schemes
  • new operator of last resort provisions to ensure that essential services continue if a private utility fails financially
  • stronger customer protection, including a new standard customer contract.

The Water Industry Competition Amendment Act 2021 has not yet commenced, pending revision of the supporting regulation.

Content of the regulation

The Department of Planning and Environment and the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal—IPART, the regulator under the WIC Act—have developed the draft Water Industry Competition (General) Regulation 2022.

The draft regulation retains large parts of the existing regulation, with minimal changes to accommodate the new licensing and approvals framework or to consolidate and streamline requirements.

The more significant changes or new provisions in the regulation:

  • prescribe which metropolitan council schemes will be regulated under the Act (Part 2)
  • introduce a deemed customer contract (Schedule 4)
  • set out last resort contingency planning requirements (Part 5)
  • set time limits for determining applications (Part 8).

The table below identifies the major changes. The Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 1278.08 KB) also provides detail on the proposed new regulation.

Content of draft Water Industry Competition (General) Regulation 2022
Part 2 Additional schemes to be regulated under the Act New
Part 3 Customer protection New
Part 4 Pricing investigations for monopoly services Minor changes
Part 5 Last resort contingency planning New
Part 6 Certificates of compliance Minor changes
Part 7 Application and compliance audits New but reflects current practice
Part 8 Miscellaneous  
  Time limits for determining applications New
  Water restrictions Additional provisions
  Transitionals including interim last resort arrangements New
Schedule 1 Exemptions from the Act Minor - new exemptions
Schedule 2 Standard licence conditions Largely streamlining with minor additions
Schedule 3 Penalty notice offences New
Schedule 4 Deemed customer contract New

Consultation

The draft regulation has been released for consultation, together with a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). The RIS assesses the costs and benefits of the proposed regulation by comparing it to the existing regulation and seeks feedback on particular questions.

Submissions

Written submissions are invited and are due by close of business Monday 17 October 2022. The department is unable to accept late submissions.

Please email your submissions to katye.jackett@planning.nsw.gov.au.