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Water Act 2014

Section 32: Interim duty: sewerage services

159.This section introduces a new section 110K into the WIA that allows undertakers’ customers to notify them that they no longer want to be provided with sewerage services by the undertaker and instead are to be served by a sewerage licensee. This is the sewerage equivalent of sections 63AA and 63AB. The notice will specify the time at which the transfer will occur and must allow at least 2 working days’ notice (so that in metered premises the undertaker can arrange for the meter to be read). Once the undertaker no longer serves a customer, its duty to provide services is interrupted until the customer applies to be served again by the undertaker or the undertaker is required to serve the customer because of the interim duty in section 110L (see below).

160.This section also inserts new sections 110L to 110O into the WIA which provide for customers to revert back to the local sewerage undertaker when a sewerage licensee exits the market. The undertaker must continue to provide the service until the customer makes a new long-term arrangement with a licensee or another sewerage undertaker (i.e. where the premises are in the appointed area of one undertaker but are connected to the sewerage system of a different undertaker). Ofwat can alternatively direct one or more sewerage licensees to take on some or all of the customers of the exiting licensee.

161.Where Ofwat orders a licensee to take on the supply or where the customer chooses its own licensee, the supply is to be treated as having been supplied by that licensee since the original licensee exited the retail market so that there is minimum disruption to the customer and the undertaker must recoup its supply costs from the new licensee. There is an “opt out” for the licensee from a proposed direction in section 110L(5)(b) which it may use if, for example, it does not have the capacity. All licensees that elect to participate in the interim sewerage service regime must make a scheme for determining the default terms and conditions that will apply to the provision of the interim service. Ofwat may issue a direction about the default terms and conditions that must be included in the licensees’ schemes. These directions are enforceable under section 18 of the WIA. Licensees and customers may agree their own particular terms and conditions. The licensee can, through a code produced by Ofwat, be required to tell the customer about the default terms and conditions before the licensee and customer make an agreement.

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