COMMERCIAL POLICY ON CONNECTION, SERVICE
DISCONNECTION FROM WATER
SUPPLY AND SEWERAGE SYSTEMS
North Western Water Supply and Sewerage Company Limited is incorporated under the companies Act-Cap 338 of the Laws of Zambia as a private company Limited by Shares. The company operates under the legal framework as outlined by “The Water Supply and Sanitation Act No. 28 of 1997.”
The company has been licensed by the “National Water Supply and Sanitation Council” (NWASCO) as the Regulator, to provide water supply and sanitation services in the North Western Water Province of Zambia.
The Policy shall be known as the Commercial Policy on Water Supply Connection, Service Withdrawal and Disconnection from Water Supply System.
This Policy shall govern and provide a guide to staff of the company on how to handle all issues relating to the connection, withdrawal of service and disconnection from water supply system of customers/consumers without discrimination and in a uniform way.
The document shall also be used as an operating manual availing managers and staff the tools to employ with regards to the provision water supply and sanitation services in line with our vision of “Striving to achieve excellence.”
1.1 The Objectives of the ‘Company’
(a) As given in the Articles of Association of the Company
1. The Company’s primary business is to provide water supply and sanitation services in urban and peri-urban areas in the North Western Province of Zambia. Water Supply and Sanitation Services will be performed as a Commercial Viable Water Supply and Sanitation Utility acting autonomously according to the regulation of the Companies Act of the Laws of Zambia.
2. An Additional business objective is entirely cost recovery (operational costs, depreciation and provision for re-investment) which shall be achieved by adequate tariff policies and an efficient collection system, whereby all customers shall be obliged to pay for the services rendered, independent of their status.
1.2 Powers of the Company under the Water Supply and Sanitation Act
Under the Water Supply and Sanitation Act No. 28 of 1997 Section 26, sub section (1) the company has powers to:
a) ration supplies,
b) restrict hours of supply,
c) terminate supplies to non-essential water consumption to reduce
water use, or
d) otherwise, modify their normal operating procedures.
Section 31, sub section, (1) No person shall
(a) without authority, enter upon property vested in the utility or
service provider, or interfere in any way with its facilities;
(b) make any unauthorized connection to any water
transmission and distribution pipe;
( c) without authority, interfere with any house connection or water
(d) make an unauthorised connection to any sanitary sewer or without
authority, discharge liquid or solid matter into any sewer system.
(2) Any person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding five thousand penalty units, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
(3) Any disconnection of any unauthorized connection to any facility shall be at the cost of the owner, any associated damage or loss shall not be compensated.
1.3 COMPANY BY-LAWS
Further, connection to the water supply and sewerage system owned by the company is regulated by the By-Laws. The By-Laws as passed by the Local Authorities of North Western Province, govern the way customers/consumers deal and treat the services provided by the company and the way they construct their water facilities.
1.4 SERVICE WITHDRAWAL AND DISCONNECTION
In accordance with this policy, service withdrawal shall refer to where a customer’s supply has been withdrawn through plugging off or closing water meter valve. The customer can have his water supply restored by settling bill, paying security and reconnection charges.
Disconnection shall refer to physical removal of communication line from water supply system and removal of company water meter. The customer shall only have his water supply restored after paying (i) outstanding bills (ii) re-applying as a new customer and meeting all associated costs.
The Commercial Policy on Water Supply and Sewerage Connection, Withdrawal of Service and Disconnection from Water Supply and Sewerage Systems. Is mandatory and discretion should not override the policy in order to avoid several standards of providing a service to the customers/consumers in various Districts of the Company.
2.0 SERVICED AREAS
2.1 Services areas are those where the company’s main line(s) is/are currently running. The company has a right to refuse to provide a non domestic service based on technical capacity unless borne by the applicant.
2.2 For such areas, the customer will bear the cost of connection from the main line to the property boundary of water meter. Apart from that, the customer will be required to pay any other fees that apply.
3.0 UNSERVICED AREAS
3.1 Un-serviced areas are ones where currently the company does not have any established lines. In these areas the company has a right to refuse to provide a service based on the technical capacity.
3.2` The customers shall meet the cost of the new connection in terms of laying the pipes. The company shall however, carry out the works.
3.3 Such a line though laid at the cost of the customer becomes the property of the company, as it is the company’s responsibility to maintain the network and such a line shall be maintained by the company up to the property boundary or water meter.
4.0 NEW CUSTOMER ACCOUNT APPLICATIONS
With effect from 1st June, 2004, only company staff will undertake all new water and sewerage connections. For rates refer to the card in force.
4.1 Application for a service will be done on the Application Form and details of the landlord or his agent must be provided in full.
4.2 The application form will have a provision for the landlord to guarantee the debts to be incurred by the tenant in case of default.
4.3 A customer will only be recognized by the company when he formally opens an account with the company and pays security deposit.
4.4 When a customer vacates the premises, he/she will be required to settle the bill in full less the security deposit.
4.5 If the account was settled in full the company will refund the security deposit upon the customer’s presentation of the receipt for the security deposit.
4.6 At this stage the account will be formally disconnected and water meter removed from the premises unless there is an immediate new tenant. The new tenant will have to apply for a reconnection and will formally pay the security deposit to secure the firm against possible bad debts.
4.7 A meter maintenance fee shall continue to accrue and shall be met by the landlord in an event where the premises are vacant.
5.0 NEW WATER CONNECTIONS IN SERVICED AREAS
With effect from 1st June 2004, Company staff will undertake all new water and sewerage connections. For rates refer to the card in force.
All new applicants for water connection shall pay an approved placation fee.
5.1 The customer is required to fully complete application forms stating all details correctly and attach a photocopy of the National Registration Card or Certificate of Registration in the case of corporate customers and the location plan for the premises.
The cost of the Application Form is K 5, 000.00 per set or as reviewed from time to time.
On application, the customer is required to pay a non-refundable investigative/administrative charge. This is meant to cover the cost on the company of carrying out the investigations on the proposed new connection. The current application/administrative charges are:
-Domestic K 30, 000.00
-Non Domestic K 50, 000.00
Before water is connected to customer’s premises the customer is required to pay a refundable security deposit. The current security deposit is:
-Domestic LC K 150, 000.00
-Domestic HMC K 250, 000.00
-Non Domestic K 400, 000.00
- Water Kiosks K 50, 000.00
5.2 CONNECTION CHARGES DURING THE REHABILITATION PERIOD
All the water connections to be done under the project will be charged as follows:
Premises Type Capital Contribution
Domestic Low Cost K 150, 000.00
Domestic High & Medium Cost K 250, 000.00
Non-Domestic K 400, 000.00
The above charges shall vary from project to project.
5.3 CONNECTION CHARGES AFTER THE REHABILITATION PERIOD
5.3.1 Capital Contribution (TOWARDS MAIN LINE)
All new water connections to be done after the project will be charged as follows:
Premises Type Capital Contribution
Domestic Low cost K 150, 000.00
Domestic High & Medium Cost K 250, 000.00
Non-Domestic K 400, 000.00
5.3.2 Job Costing (FOR COMMUNICATION LINE)
i) Cost of materials @ cost = -------------------------------
ii) Labour Cost
Excavation and backfilling @ (rate per metre)*length = ----------------
Saddle connection @ K (rate per hour) * 2 hours = ---------------
Meter stand construction @ K (rate per hour) * 2 hours = ---------------
5.4 After the assessment the customer will be notified of the cost of carrying out a connection. Such cost will include the material costs, labour and administrative charges.
5.5 Upon payment of the charge the connection must be done within 14 days.
5.6 No connection should be made until the security deposit is paid in full.
5.7 The refundable security deposit will be adjusted each time the tariff is reviewed.
5.8 When making new connections the landlord or his agent will act as a guarantor to the tenant and will be made to sign a form making him liable for the debts incurred by the tenant.
6.0 RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAINTENANCE WORKS
6.1 All repairs on the Main Line are the responsibility of the company, However, repairs beyond the meter/property boundary are the responsibility of the customer.
6.2 Where the customer requestes for work to be done beyond the meter such work will be billed for and a 25% mark up will added to the estimate cost to enable the company recover the cost of the work.
6.3 Un-metered customers who fail to maintain their system upon being requested to do so may have their supply withdrawn until such a time that the maintenance has been carried out see section 32 Sub Section (1) of the Water Act No. 28 of 1997.
7.0 BILLING FOR SERVICES
7.1 Customers will be billed for services once a month. Such bills should be distributed to the customer premises.
7.2 Upon delivery of bills, customers must sign for the bills as an acknowledgement of the receipt. This is to avoid claims by certain customer that they don’t receive the bills.
7.3 The bills show the amount brought forward, the current consumption plus any charges and the total amount outstanding. No alteration should be made on a bill. All adjustments should be reflected on the bill for the following month.
7.4 The Customer Service Assistant will handle all customers’ complaints pertaining to billing.
7.5 Customer accounts on flat rate shall be billed according to the month and not number of days. However, the company has a right to meter all its customers. The company reserves the right to install or remove a water meter from any customer premises.
7.6 All customers who refuse to be metered must be disconnected from the water supply system.
8.0 PAYMENT FOR SERVICES
8.1 Receipts for settlement of water charges and any other requirement must be made at our duly registered offices.
8.2 Payments should only be made to an authorized officer. All payments must be receipted and clearly state the nature of payment. Different receipts/books must be used for different payments e.g water charge, security deposit, capital contribution etc. It is therefore an offence to (i) receive any money without authority and (ii) receive money without issuing an official receipt.
Each receipt must be issued with a separate receipt. No receipts shall include more than one payment type i.e water charge and reconnection fee or any other type must not be written on one receipt.
The customer will at all times be issued with a receipt to evidence receipt of money by the company. The receipt should be stamped with an official company stamp.
8.3 In the absence of the Customer Services Assistant, the District Head shall be mandated to receive money on behalf of the company.
8.4 However the District Manager may appoint an officer to do the task on his behalf. Such authority will however be in writing and copied to the Public Relations and Commercial Manager.
8.5 Register should be maintained at each revenue office to record in summary form all collection done each day.
9.0 MAINTENANCE OF CUSTOMER INFORMATION
9.1 All information related to customer transactions will be maintained on customer record cards/customer database. This includes billings and payments. The records shall be maintained centrally at Head Office with a provision of on line access to the front office window by branch staff.
The Customer Service Assistant will make all the required entries on the customer records. However, Customer Service Assistants shall not make any alterations to the Customers records or records in the billing system or printed bills.
9.2 The customer records need to be maintained correctly and clearly this forms the basis of all transactions with customers.
9.3 It is an offence to make any unauthorized entry on customer records.
9.4 All alterations i.e cancellations and other changes need to be counter signed by the District Head before sending to Head Office.
9.5 Customer records should be updated by each month-end for billing information while payments should be updated by the close of each business day without fail.
10.0 WITHDRAWAL OF SERVICE TO CUSTOMER PREMISES
10.1 The company will withdraw service to a customer when the customer defaults in settlement of bills. The following conditions (as indicated on the bill) apply.
(i) All invoices are due for payment on the 15th day of the month following the invoice month.
(ii) Customers who do not settle their bills by the due date are subject to the
withdrawal of water supply.
(iii) All the invoices/statements are delivered to customer premises and customers who do not receive their invoices within 7 days following the invoice month are obliged to check with their local NWWSSC office.
10.2 Service will be withdrawn when an account remains in arrears after the 15th day of the month following billing. The company should strive to maintain all customer accounts current.
10.3 The customer in default shall be served with an enforcement notice for the Withdrawal or Disconnection of Water Supply.
The Public Relations and Commercial Manager will sanction reconnection or Disconnection of Water Supply.
10.4 Before service is withdrawn, a disconnection order will be issued by the district head. The Plumber will also make an entry as the executing officer.
All Service Withdrawal Orders shall be effected without discrimination and within the stated period.
10.5 All customers that do not settle their accounts within specified period must have the service withdrawn and if no attempts are made by the customer to have the service reconnected within three (3) months, a notice of disconnection from the water supply system must be issued and disconnection effected fourteen (14) days following the notice of disconnection.
10.6 The only exceptional will be pool houses (mostly government houses). This is given a special consideration since officers who occupy such houses have got no real choice to the type of house they occupy as they mostly come to the province on transfers. However, the Head of Department of Provincial Head shall sign an undertaking to assist recover outstanding debt.
11.0 RESTORATION OF SUPPLY
11.1 Restoration of supply will only be done when the customer settles the account in full inclusive of the restoration fee and other charges. The current restoration charges are:
-Domestic K 30, 000.00
-Non-Domestic K 75, 000.00
11.2 The fees will act as a PENALTY to customers for carrying out both the withdrawal and restoration.
11.3 Restoration of an account whose service is withdrawn will be done upon completion of the Restoration Order. The order will be approved by the District Manager and executed by the Plumber/Commercial Assistant.
11.4 It is an offence for any offer to perform a reconnection without due authority and/without full payment of the restoration charge.
12.0 ILLEGAL RECONNECTIONS
12.1 Any customer who restores water to premises that service is officially withdrawn performs an illegal activity.
12.2 The Water & Sanitation Act No. 28 of 1997 makes it illegal for a customer to reconnect or restore services that were legally withdrawn by the company.
12.3 Any customer who is discovered to have had his property illegally connected or water restored must be prosecuted in accordance with the law as stipulated in the Water Act No. 28 of 1997 bearing the following consequences.
12.4 In addition to the above, any customer who contravenes the above will be subjected to the following:
(a) The property will have the supply lines excavated, removed and confiscated as evidence of the illegal activity. This is meant to curb illegal activities and provide evidence in court where applicable.
(b) The customer will also be required to settle the following costs apart from the court conviction.
- The illegal reconnection penalty fee (K150, 000 for domestic and K 350,000 for commercial)
- Restoration charge of K 30, 000 for domestic and K 50, 000.00 Non-domestic.
- The cost of excavation and backfilling
- To settle the full account in full
- To settle the assessed the cost of water consumed during the period the illegal activities were carried on.
12.5 It is illegal to tap, connect supply pipes or draw water before the water meter and all such connections or activities shall be treated as illegal connections and must be prosecuted.
13.0 DAMAGE, LOSS AND TEMPERING WITH THE WATER METERS
13.1 Meters are a capital item, very expensive and require continuous maintenance. Any customer who willfully tempers with a water meter for whatever reason shall be liable to heavy fines. This is because the customer might put the meter in a state of disrepair and might require replacement.
13.2 The charges for damage to a water meters are as follows:
½” = $35.00, ¾” - $42.00 and 1” = $103.00
15% Import Duty
17.5% Value Added Tax
10% Handling Charge
Euro 30, Installation Charge
13.3 The charges are levied to enable the company replace the meter.
13.4 In addition consumption for the period the meter was tampered with shall be assessed at highest possible consumption for the category.
13.5 Supply to such premises will automatically be disconnected until the issue regarding illegal meter tampering is dealt with conclusively.
13.6 In the circumstances where the meter is damaged or lost either out of negligence on the part of the customer or not, the customer shall bear the cost of replacement. Water consumption shall be calculated out of an estimate of the immediate three months average.
13.7 In both illegal Reconnections and Tempering of Meters, water supply must be disconnected immediately once ascertained.
14.0 CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
14.1 The Customer Service Assistant will record all customer complaints in the register.
14.2 Complaints including those against billing will be recorded in the customer complaints registers.
14.3 The Customer Service Assistant will notify the District Manager immediately upon receipt of the complaint.
14.4 All complaints must be attended in time to enable the company be in line with the Service Level Guarantee/Agreement.
14.5 An initial visit should be done on the same date of the complaint unless the complaint is made after 16.30hrs.
14.6 All written complaints must be replied to within 5 working days. Copies of written complaints and response or action taken must be sent to the Public Relations and Commercial Manager within 7 days of complaint.
14.7 All staff must ensure that complaints and queries are resolved at first contact and reduce on call back.
14.8 All complaints must be included in the month report submitted to the Public Relations and Commercial Manager.
15.0 TRANSFER OF DEBTS FROM ONE PREMISE TO ANOTHER
15.1 The company shall not be involved with the transfer of debts. The onus therefore shall tie with the customer to ensure that the house/premises he intends to occupy is free of debts otherwise he/she shall make good the debts before supply can be restored.
15.2 However, this shall not apply to institutional houses and transfer-in from outside the province where adequate proof has been availed to the company.
15.3 The company reserves the right to transfer debts.
16.0 WATER AND SEWERAGE TARIFF
16.1 The current Water and Sewerage Tariff shall be published and displaced in all Customer Service Office and all other offices updated from time to time.
17.0 CATEGORISATION OF PROPERTIES
17.1 All the new connections shall fall into the following categories according to the cost type of the plot applied for:
(ii) Non Domestic
All account not failing under (1) above
17.2 In circumstances where the plot has been developed the tariff and the other charges must be reviewed to cover the following:
TRYPE OF PROPERTY PREMISES TYPE
1) High cost house on high cost plot HIGH COST
2) High cost house on Medium cost plot HIGH COST
3) High cost house on low cost plot HIGH COST
4) Medium cost house on high cost plot HIGH COST
5) Medium cost house on Medium cost plot MEDIUM COST
6) Medium cost house no low cost plot MEDIUM COST
7) Low Cost house no high cost plot HIGH COST
8) Low Cost house on Medium cost plot MEDIUM COST
9) Low Cost house on low cost plot LOW COST
17.3 In the case of tenancy changing from Domestic, the latter shall apply.
18.0 METER TESTING FEES
18.1 The company will charge a refundable fee of K 20, 000.00 as per meter testing fees for customers that request for the test. If the meter is found to be faulty, the customer will be refunded the fee and the bill adjusted. The adjustment shall be effective from the time the meter testing fee was paid.
However if the meter is on investigation found to be in good working condition the customer of forfeits the refundable fee.
19.0 WATER AND SEWERAGE TARIFF SCHEDULE EFFECTIVE 1ST JANUARY, 2005.
20.0 VALIDITY OF QUOTATION
Valid for three months (from date of issuance)