Subsection (1): the new section 29E of the 2002 Act: Departure from certain charges
126.The new section 29E of the 2002 Act, which is also inserted by subsection (1) of section 21 of the Act, provides for departures from a charges scheme to be made in respect of charges paid by a water services or sewerage services provider. The section also specifies the narrow circumstances in which these departures from the set charges scheme may be permitted.
127.Subsection (1) of the new section 29E allows Scottish Water to apply to the Commission for its consent to depart from a charges scheme in respect of charges to be paid by a water services or sewerage services provider.
128.Subsection (2) of the new section 29E provides that the Commission may consent to such a departure only where satisfied that a customer of the provider in respect of which Scottish Water has made the request has taken specific action, or has agreed to something, which demonstrably reduces or increases the costs incurred by Scottish Water in providing services to the provider. The subsection also provides that the departure must be otherwise justified in the circumstances of the case.
129.Subsection (3) of the new section 29E provides that where the Commission agrees to a departure, it may do so subject to such reasonable conditions as it considers appropriate.
130.Subsection (4) of the new section 29E stipulates that where the Commission does not agree to a departure it must gives its reasons for doing so.
131.Subsection (5) of the new section 29E provides that the Commission must specify in writing the procedure it will follow in deciding whether to agree to requests for departures made under subsection (1). In addition it must specify matters which will be taken into account and criteria which will be used in determining whether a departure from a charges scheme is justified; and, where the Commission determines that a departure is justified, matters to be taken into account and criteria to be used by Scottish Water in the setting of lower, or as the case may be, higher, charges. Subsection (6) provides that the Commission may revise this provision.
132.Subsection (7) of the new section 29E provides that, in preparing or revising the provision under subsection (5) for the procedure to be followed in determining requests for departures, the Commission must consult Scottish Ministers, Scottish Water and such other persons as it thinks fit.
133.Subsection (8) provides that the Commission must send a copy of the provision made under subsection (5) to Scottish Ministers, Scottish Water and every water services and sewerage services provider. Subsection (9) also requires Scottish Water to publish details of every departure from a charges scheme.