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Service Standards

Our service standards form part of our Customer Charter. They have been developed in consultation with customers and reflect what customers expect of us.

The service standards have been approved by the Essential Services Commission and cover the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2023. The standards reflect our performance in recent years and the changing work environment resulting from population growth and climate change. 

We report on our performance against these standards each year.

Water supply

Unplanned water supply interruptions

Unplanned interruptions are leaks or bursts in the water supply network. They are categorised as Priority 1, 2 or 3 according to the following definitions. The priority level is determined by staff based on the information provided by the person who advised of the incident as well as what is found on site.

  • Priority 1 – a leak or burst which causes, or has potential to cause, substantial damage or harm to customers, water quality, flow rate, property or the environment.
  • Priority 2 – a burst or leak which causes, or has the potential to cause, minor damage or harm to customers, water quality, flow rate, property or the environment.
  • Priority 3 – a burst or leak which is causing no discernible impacts on customers, property or the environment.

Service standard  2018/19 result 
Water supply interruptions for 100km of water mains  12 9.1
Customer minutes off water supply (average) 14.1 minutes 5.9
Water supply interruptions restored within 5 hours 98.3% 98.5%
Frequency of water supply interruptions (average) 0.11 (once in 9 years) 0.07
Duration of water supply interruptions (average) 2 hours, 6 minutes 1 hours, 12 minutes
Time taken to attend bursts and leaks (Priority 1) (average) 30 minutes 23.2 minutes
Time taken to attend bursts and leaks (Priority 2) (average)              60 minutes 3 hours, 54 minutes1
Time taken to attend bursts and leaks (Priority 3) (average) 24 hours 5 hours, 26 minutes
Customers experiencing more than five interruptions in a year 0 0

1Western Water experienced a major increase in the number of priority 2 incidents during the year due to automation of real time reporting and a review of incident definitions. This affected our average response times. We believe that we will be able to reduce response times significantly in the coming year through a range of improvements at our operations centre and in our incident management processes.

Planned water supply interruptions

Planned interruptions are those occasions when Western Water needs to turn off the water supply to undertake necessary maintenance or other activities. 

Planned water supply interruptions Service standard 2018/19 result 
Water supply interruptions restored within five hours 99% 96.3%2
Customer minutes off water supply (average) 45 minutes 6 minutes
Frequency of water supply interruptions (average) 0.10 (once in 10 years) 0.04
Duration of planned water supply interruptions (average) 4 hours 2 hours, 35 minutes

2Planned water supply interruptions restored within 5 hours were not met at a 99% level because of the one water supply interruption incident that resulted in the payment of GSLs in FY19. This is considered an extraordinary event which we do not expect to recur in future years.


Sewerage service

Western Water’s focus is on preventative maintenance for the sewerage system. Nonetheless, unplanned blockages and spills can occur. When they do, our service standards aim to minimise impacts to customers and the environment.

Service standard 2018/19 results 
Sewerage blockages per 100km of main 14 183 
Response time for sewer spills (average) 30 minutes 27 minutes
Response time for sewer blockages (average) 60 minutes 27 minutes
Time to rectify a sewer blockage (average) 47.2 minutes 1 hour, 14 minutes3
Spills contained within five hours 100% 98%3
Customers receiving >3 sewer blockages in the year 0 0

3Sewer incidents were more frequent and took longer to rectify than expected as around half were in areas not yet reviewed through our sewer CCTV inspection program. These areas will be included in the program over the next few years. In addition, we are increasing our sewer maintenance program to bring results back in line with standards.

Customer service

While there are many customer service performance targets for Western Water staff, two standards are highlighted in our Customer Charter relating to complaints and how quickly we respond to phone calls.

Service standard 2018/19 results 
Complaints to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (per 1000 customers) 0.7 0.94
Telephone calls answered within 30 seconds* 75% 70%5

*This standard was only acceptable to customers if emergency calls were answered within 30 seconds.

4The higher than expected number of complaints to EWOV will be addressed by increasing training for new employees in customer-facing roles to better deal with customer queries and understand EWOV's role.

5Actions are in place to improve telephone call response times to ensure we meet this standard (and that 100% of emergency calls are answered within 30 seconds). Improvements will also be realised once the online customer portal is available in late 2019.

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