Our Customer Charter
Our Customer Charter outlines the services we provide as South Australia’s electricity distributor. It explains both our responsibilities and yours in ensuring we continue to have safe and reliable power supply.
We're responsible for managing the electricity distribution network – the substations, transformers, poles and wires that deliver electricity safely to about 860,000 residential and business customers in our State.
We're part of a supply chain that includes your retailer (who manages your electricity account and sources your energy), various electricity generators (coal, gas, wind, solar etc), and a transmission provider (who transports electricity at very high voltages to us to distribute locally).
Our job is to manage the network in a way that ensures safe and reliable delivery of power to homes and businesses. Our responsibilities include:
- maintaining the network to ensure safe, reliable supply
- restoring power if there is an outage
- connecting power for new customers
- upgrading the network to meet changing demand due to localised growth
- shaping the network for the future to ensure it’s able to support the needs of customers who are changing the way they source and use energy
- maintaining street lights on behalf of councils and government
- meter data reading and maintenance of meters not owned or managed by retailers.
We have about 2,000 staff based at locations across the State, who are highly trained and dedicated to ensuring we deliver the best service we can.
That dedication is reflected in the fact we are regarded as an Australian industry leader in safety, reliability and efficiency.
Our operations are overseen by independent regulators.
- The Essential Services Commission (ESCOSA) determines our service standards – establishing targets for our levels of service to customers covering reliability, security of supply and our responsiveness. These standards are published by ESCOSA in the Electricity Distribution Code.
- The Office of the Technical Regulator oversees technical standards across the energy sector and we are required to ensure we meet high levels of compliance with electrical and safety standards.
- The Australian Energy Regulator oversees our performance and approves our plans for managing the network and determines the level of revenue from our customers (and how we collect that revenue via tariffs) to fund our activities.
We also comply with all relevant Federal and State legislation.
When we supply power to a property, we are deemed to enter into an agreement with rights and obligations for both parties. You may have rights under a variety of Acts.
ESCOSA has established a number of key service standards that we are required to achieve. These are set out in the Distribution Code and include requirements that:
- Detail reliability targets for various types of powerlines both in terms of minutes without supply and number of power outages (this establishes the level of reliability for customers in different parts of the State).
- Seek to minimise the duration and impact of outages associated with planned maintenance, new connections, augmentation or emergency work
- Seek restoration of power as soon as possible after an unplanned outage.
- Establish timeframes for responding to customer enquiries; repairing faulty street lights; reconnecting customers to supply.
- Ensure safe connection of embedded generation (ie generators being connected direct into the distribution network).
The Code also sets out the thresholds and Guaranteed Service Level (GSL) payments that may be made for inconvenience caused by extended (12 hours or more) or repeat outages; and payments in relation to failing to meet street light repair timeframes.
GSL payments are processed automatically and cheques mailed to the account holder within three months of an extended outage. Payments for frequent interruptions (10 or more per annum) are mailed out after the end of the financial year.
We understand the importance of reliable and safe power supply for our residential and business customers.
We carefully manage the network to try to minimise the incidence of power outages, though these are inevitable given the many potential causes of outages, including extreme weather, bushfire, tree and limb falls, vehicle and other contact with poles and lines, equipment failure, interaction with animals etc.
When your power goes out we will do everything we can to restore your power as quickly as possible and we’ll provide clear and easy-to-access information to keep you informed of progress via our website, SMS updates, social media and a dedicated 24/7 telephone contact centre as soon as we can.
Your power may be disconnected to allow our crews to safely undertake maintenance and other work on the network. We will give you advance warning of such work.
Your power supply may also be impacted by external issues – for example load shedding due to upstream issues with generation and transmission supply.
All wiring from the service point at your property is your responsibility to maintain and repair. Wiring or equipment at your premises must be maintained in a safe condition. You need to ensure that:
- any changes are performed by a licensed electrician and you keep the Electrical Certificate of Compliance, which your electrician will give you
- your actions or equipment do not adversely affect or cause damage to the network or to another customer’s system
- power supplied to your premises is not used at another address
- you only supply power to another person if you have a licence to do so
- power supplied to you under a specific tariff is only used for that purpose (for example, power supplied under a residential tariff is not used for commercial purposes).
We will maintain the wires from our poles to your supply point. This supply point could be a service box located on your property structure, or within a service pit underground. If you think there is a problem we need to fix, please let us know by phoning 13 13 66
When you connect a new property to the electricity network, change your service (i.e. install solar) or your meter needs replacing, you are now required to install a digital meter and organise its installation through your nominated Retailer.
For a new connection, we suggest you engage an electrician before completing the online application.
We‘ll connect power to the connection point of your premises on a date agreed with you and your retailer, otherwise we‘ll pay you for every working day we‘re late (up to a maximum amount).
We’ll provide you or your electrician with information on our requirements for any proposed new installation.
Your retailer’s responsibility
Your retailer is responsible for arranging a meter to be installed at the site and for all subsequent meter data collection.
You need to ensure your electrical wiring is safe and any changes are performed by a licensed electrician who will provide an Electrical Certificate of Compliance.
In some circumstances we may disconnect your power:
- if you have requested a disconnection, for example when moving house;
- if you have illegally used our services; or
- if your retailer has requested disconnection due to failure to pay your electricity bill.
If you would like to know more about your disconnection, please contact your retailer.
If someone in your home has a medical condition that relies on your power supply, it is important to have a back-up plan for unexpected power outages.
If you need to be registered as a life support customer, you can either contact your retailer or us on 13 12 61.
If you have a life-threatening medical condition then you should ensure you are registered with the Telecross REDi service provided by Australian Red Cross.
You will have a meter on your property to measure your power use. The meter is owned by the installer. All requests for new meters and issues with existing meters should be referred to your retailer.
Meter operations are currently transitioning from SA Power Networks to retailers. Existing accumulation meters are owned by us and will continue to be read by us until they are replaced. Since 1 December 2017 all new meters have been installed by and are the responsibility of retailers. Any changes to your connection or metering will require installation of a new smart meter to be organised by your retailer.
If we read your meter and we have your mobile phone number, we‘ll let you know when we’ll be in the area to read your meter. Register or update your details now.
If you wish you can arrange, at your cost a specific time for your meter to be read.
We‘ll do our best to read manual meters quarterly. All new meters installed after 1 December 2017 are digital and will be read electronically.
You have a responsibility to keep an eye on your meter to ensure your power use is recorded properly and to avoid potential unnecessary repair costs.
- Make sure you protect your meter from damage as you may be charged to replace a damaged meter or fittings.
- Ensure the meter or SA Power Networks equipment on your property is not tampered with.
- Keep your meter clear of obstructions so we can read it safely.
- Advise your retailer as soon as possible if your meter is damaged or if there are any issues accessing your meter.
If we can’t access your meter or if your meter is damaged, we’ll need to estimate your power usage. We’ll base the estimated charge on historical usage at your property or average use by a similar customer.
Your retailer issues you with quarterly bills for power use. Your bill is made up of:
- retail costs – managing customer accounts, sending out bills
- wholesale costs – the costs associated with generating the power you use
- green scheme costs – to cover government-initiated programs that support energy efficiency and development of renewable energy
- network costs – these charges go towards building, maintaining and operating the transmission and distribution networks that transport power to your property.
We read your meter or estimate usage and provide this information to your retailer who will include it in the bill they send to you.
Information regarding our distribution charges, which make up about a quarter of your bill and are reviewed annually by the regulator.
It is your responsibility to pay your bill on time. If you have problems with payment you should contact your retailer and negotiate a payment plan.
We need to access your property to read your meter, inspect our equipment, connect or disconnect a service, carry out inspections or investigations, and in the case of an emergency.
All SA Power Networks representatives carry identification. If you are in any doubt about someone entering your property, please don’t hesitate to ask to see their identification.
If there is anything to prevent us accessing your property call us on 13 13 66.
Our employees and contractors must carry SA Power Networks identification at all times, and must present that identification on request.
Our employees and contractors will respect your property and security, outlined in our code of conduct.
You need to ensure clear, safe access to the electricity meter and any other infrastructure on your property. Please advise us if there’s any issue accessing meters or other infrastructure.
We’re responsible for keeping trees clear of public power lines to ensure public safety and reliability of supply and to minimise the risk of fire starts in bushfire prone areas.
We are only allowed to trim trees that are very close to or under powerlines and do so according to government-regulated clearances. We can’t touch trees outside the legislated clearance zone – unfortunately these trees often cause outages in extreme weather (due to trees and tree limb falling onto lines).
Property owners/occupiers are responsible for clearing trees around private supply lines on their property, including trees overhanging from a neighbour’s property. Naturally occurring, non-nurtured vegetation is excluded from this obligation.
Learn more about our tree trimming program.
We maintain most of, but not all of the street lights in South Australia. We rely on members of the public to report street light faults and have made this easy and more efficient via an online reporting tool.
Once we receive a street light fault report, we aim to make repairs within five working days in metropolitan areas and 10 working days in country areas.
Where the light is our responsibility and you are the first person to report it being out, you may be eligible for a payment if we don’t meet these timeframes. Payments are automatically posted via cheque each month.
If the faulty light is managed by the State Government or a Council, we will advise them. However, they do not have the same obligations in terms of repair timeframes.
We are committed to continuing to improve our service for customers and welcome your feedback.
We will respond promptly to your enquiries. We aim to respond to phone and written enquiries, social media and emails within one working day.
We strive to be easy to deal with, we’ll deliver on commitments, and we’ll treat you with respect in all our dealings with you.
We regularly review our performance with our customers and employees to identify opportunities for improvement.
If you have a complaint, let us know so we can try to resolve it. We will handle your complaint in a fair, confidential and timely manner. We will always provide a contact name and number to identify us and so you can follow up with us directly.
We ask you to treat us with courtesy, be honest in the information you give us and provide us with the information we need to resolve your issue.
We aim to respond to your complaint within five business days. If you’re not satisfied with our response, we’ll provide contact details for a Manager you can speak to.
If you are not happy with the outcome, you can raise a grievance with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of South Australia. This is a free and independent service (phone 1800 665 565 or email email@example.com).
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