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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 standard2018/19 result2019/20 result
Water supply interruptions for 100km of water mains129.18.7
Customer minutes off water supply (average)14.1 minutes5.99.5
Water supply interruptions restored within 5 hours98.3%98.5%97.5%1
Frequency of water supply interruptions (average)0.11 (once in 9 years)0.070.08
Duration of water supply interruptions (average)2 hours, 6 minutes1 hours, 12 minutes2 hours, 1 minute
Time taken to attend bursts and leaks (Priority 1) (average)30 minutes23.2 minutes30 minutes
Time taken to attend bursts and leaks (Priority 2) (average)60 minutes3 hours, 54 minutes2 hours, 36 minutes2
Time taken to attend bursts and leaks (Priority 3) (average)24 hours5 hours, 26 minutes11 hours, 47 minutes
Customers experiencing more than five interruptions in a year000

1 Western Water did not reach target in FY19/20 with a total of 5 water supply interruptions taking longer to restore than 5 hours out of the 197 experienced across the drinking water and Class A recycled water networks. We continue to review repair techniques and invest in the latest equipment and innovations to minimise service disruptions to customers.

2 While not yet meeting target, priority 2 response times to attend bursts and leaks has decreased by more than an hour over the prior year’s result. This is due to changes to the way we dispatch and prioritise jobs including the use of Waternamics - an intelligent operations dashboard incorporating the field crew’s GPS network - to dispatch the closest available vehicle. We will implement further changes in the coming year as part of our commitment to continuous improvement to meet our customer service standards.

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 interruptionsService standard2018/19 result2019/20 result
Water supply interruptions restored within five hours99%96.3%95.2%3
Customer minutes off water supply (average)45 minutes6 minutes9 minutes
Frequency of water supply interruptions (average)0.10 (once in 10 years)0.040.05
Duration of planned water supply interruptions (average)4 hours2 hours, 35 minutes3 hours, 10 minutes

3 Analysis of this year’s performance has indicated that a number of changes are required to improve our ability to restore planned water supply interruptions within 5 hours. Internal procedures have been put in place and a review of alternative ways to connect new infrastructure to a live water main without the need for a planned interruption are being explored. We expect that these measures and others currently being reviewed will improve our ability to meet this service standard.

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 standard2018/19 results2019/20 results
Sewerage blockages per 100km of main1418.017.34
Response time for sewer spills (average)30 minutes27 minutes30 minutes
Response time for sewer blockages (average)60 minutes27 minutes30 minutes
Time to rectify a sewer blockage (average)47.2 minutes1 hour, 14 minutes1 hours, 20 minutes5
Spills contained within five hours100%98%99%6
Customers receiving >3 sewer blockages in the year000

4 Our Sewer Spill Prevention Strategy is evolving to manage the challenges from both ageing infrastructure and a growing network. Sewer spills per 100km of main have decreased compared to last year due to the targeted sewer CCTV program and an increased preventative sewer maintenance program consisting of sewer mains cleaning, tree root foaming and pipe pre-screening. Further solutions will be implemented in the coming year – including the use of artificial intelligence to predict future sewer blockages across our network – to improve proactive maintenance and further improve performance to help reach the standard set.

5 Average times to rectify a sewer blockage have increased in the past year underlining the need for further investment in our Sewer Spill Prevention Strategy to help reduce sewer blockages. We will continue to use Waternamics - an intelligent operations dashboard incorporating the field crew’s GPS network - to further optimise our dispatch processes to ensure the closest crews attend sewer blockages. Rectification times include sewer services being restored and cleaning up of any sewer spills or assets.

6 Although we have seen an improvement in performance this year, we understand how important a timely response to sewer spills and their impact will be to customers and the environment. In the coming year we will focus on improvements to our work processes, invest in the most up to date equipment for our crews, and bolster our preventative sewer maintenance programs to further improve performance.

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 standard2018/19 results2019/20 results
Complaints to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (per 1000 customers)
Telephone calls answered within 30 seconds*75%70%70%7

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

7 This year customer account growth increased by almost 7% and staff resourcing was focussed on developing and supporting customer self-serve options such as the online portal, webchat and SMS. This meant call answer times for account queries were unable to meet the 30 second target. Additionally, from March, the team operated on reduced capacity due to COVID19.

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