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Water Bill [HL]


Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    53

 

                                       may direct the Council to supply to him or it, in such form as he or it

may reasonably specify, such information specified or described in the

direction as he or it may require for the purpose of exercising his or its

functions.

           (2)           The Council shall, if the information specified or described in the

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direction is in its possession, comply with a direction under this section

as soon as reasonably practicable.

           (3)           Where the Council fails to comply with a direction given under

subsection (1) above it must give to the person who gave the direction

notice of its reason for the failure, and that person may publish that

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notice in such manner as he considers appropriate.

           (4)           A person publishing a notice under this section shall have regard to the

need for excluding, so far as that is practicable, any matter which relates

to the affairs of a particular individual or body of persons (corporate or

unincorporate), where he considers that publication of that matter

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would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that

individual or body.

       27K            Sections 27H to 27J: supplementary

           (1)           The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing—

                  (a)                 descriptions of information which a person to whom a direction

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is given under section 27H or 27J above may refuse to supply; or

                  (b)                 circumstances in which such a person may refuse to comply

with a direction given under either of those sections.

           (2)           The Council may, if no person is prescribed for the purpose under

subsection (3) below, refer a failure by a company to comply with a

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direction under section 27H above to the Authority.

           (3)           The Secretary of State may make regulations for the purpose of

enabling a failure to comply with a direction under section 27H or 27J

above to be referred by the person who gave the direction to such

person (other than the Authority) as may be prescribed by the

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regulations.

           (4)           A person to whom such a failure is referred (whether under subsection

(2) above or regulations under subsection (3) above) shall—

                  (a)                 consider any representations made by either party;

                  (b)                 determine whether the person failing to comply with the

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direction is entitled to refuse to do so, and, if not, order him to

comply with the direction; and

                  (c)                 give notice of his determination and any order under paragraph

(b), with reasons, to both parties.

           (5)           The duty of a company to comply with an order under this section shall

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be enforceable by the Authority under section 18 above.

           (6)           A notice under subsection (4) above may be published by either party

to the reference.

           (7)           Subsections (2) to (7) of section 27I above apply to the publication of

such a notice under this section as they apply to the publication of a

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notice given to the Council under section 27H(5) above.”

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    54

 

 44    Provision of statistical information to consumers etc

     (1)    After section 38A of the WIA there is inserted—

       “38B            Publication of statistical information about standards of performance

           (1)           It shall be the duty of the Council to publish, in such form and manner

and with such frequency as it thinks appropriate, such statistical

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information as it considers appropriate relating to—

                  (a)                 the levels of performance achieved by water undertakers in

respect of standards of performance prescribed in regulations

under section 38(1)(b) or (2) above;

                  (b)                 complaints made by consumers about any matter relating to the

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activities of water undertakers and the handling of such

complaints.

           (2)           In subsection (1)(b) above, “complaints” includes complaints made

directly to water undertakers (or anyone carrying on activities on their

behalf) and complaints to the Authority, the Council, the Assembly or

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the Secretary of State.”

     (2)    After section 95A of the WIA there is inserted—

       “95B            Publication of statistical information about standards of performance

           (1)           It shall be the duty of the Council to publish, in such form and manner

and with such frequency as it thinks appropriate, such statistical

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information as it considers appropriate relating to—

                  (a)                 the levels of performance achieved by sewerage undertakers in

respect of standards of performance prescribed in regulations

under section 95(1)(b) or (2) above;

                  (b)                 complaints made by consumers about any matter relating to the

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activities of sewerage undertakers and the handling of such

complaints.

           (2)           In subsection (1)(b) above, “complaints” includes complaints made

directly to sewerage undertakers (or anyone carrying on activities on

their behalf) and complaints to the Authority, the Council, the

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Assembly or the Secretary of State.”

     (3)    Sections 38A(4) and (5) and 95A(4) and (5) of the WIA (which are superseded

by provision made by this section) shall cease to have effect.

 45    Consumer complaints

     (1)    For section 29 of the WIA (duties of customer service committees) there is

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substituted—

       “29            Consumer complaints

           (1)           This section applies to a complaint which any person (“the

complainant”) has against a relevant undertaker in relation to any

matter connected with the functions of that undertaker.

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           (2)           Where a complaint to which this section applies (other than one

appearing to the Council to be frivolous or vexatious) is referred to the

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    55

 

           (2)           Council by or on behalf of the complainant, the Council shall (subject to

subsections (3) and (8) below) investigate the complaint for the purpose

of determining whether it is appropriate to take any action under

subsection (9) below.

           (3)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint is one the Authority

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would be required to investigate under section 181 below, the Council

shall, instead of investigating the matter to which it relates, refer the

complaint to the Authority.

           (4)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter in

respect of which a function under section 18 or 22A above is or may be

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exercisable by any person, the Council shall (unless it considers that

that person already has notice of the matter) refer the matter to that

person.

           (5)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter

which constitutes or might constitute an offence, the Council shall refer

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the matter—

                  (a)                 to the Assembly, if the matter relates to a relevant undertaker

whose area is wholly or mainly in Wales; or

                  (b)                 to the Secretary of State, if the matter relates to any other

relevant undertaker.

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           (6)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter

which constitutes a dispute of a kind which can be referred to the

Authority for determination under any provision of this Act, the

Council shall, if the complainant consents, refer the matter to the

Authority.

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           (7)           A referral under subsection (6) above shall have effect for the purposes

of section 30A below as if it were a referral by the complainant of a

dispute for determination by the Authority.

           (8)           The Council is not required to investigate any matter if it appears to the

Council that—

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                  (a)                 it is unlikely that the complaint could be resolved by action

taken by the relevant undertaker;

                  (b)                 the relevant undertaker has not been given a reasonable

opportunity to deal with the complaint; or

                  (c)                 in a case mentioned in subsection (4) or (5) above or (where the

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complainant does not consent to the matter being referred to the

Authority) subsection (6) above, it is inappropriate to do so.

           (9)           Where it appears to the Council to be appropriate to do so with a view

to assisting in reaching a satisfactory resolution of a complaint referred

to it under this section, the Council shall make representations on

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behalf of the complainant to the relevant undertaker about anything to

which the complaint relates.

           (10)          After investigating a complaint the Council may make a report to the

Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly.

           (11)          A report under subsection (10) above may include information about—

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                  (a)                 any representations made by the Council under subsection (9)

above; and

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    56

 

                  (b)                 the response of the relevant undertaker to the complaint or any

such representations.

           (12)          No report under subsection (10) above or information about a

complaint referred to the Council under this section, from which the

complainant may be identified, shall be published or disclosed by the

5

Council, the Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly in the

exercise of any power under this Act without the consent of the

complainant.

           (13)          Where a representation made to the Authority, the Secretary of State or

the Assembly about any matter (other than a representation appearing

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to the person to whom it is made to be frivolous or vexatious) appears

to that person—

                  (a)                 to be about a matter which is or amounts to a complaint to

which this section applies (other than one which, in the case of

the Authority, it is its duty to investigate under section 181

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below); and

                  (b)                 to have been made by or on behalf of the complainant,

                                       that person shall refer the matter to the Council.”

     (2)    Section 30 of the WIA (duties of Director with respect to complaints) shall cease

to have effect.

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 46    Investigations by the Council

After section 29 of the WIA there is inserted—

       “29A            Power of Council to investigate other matters

           (1)           The Council may investigate any matter (not being a matter which it is

its duty to investigate under this Part) which appears to it to be a matter

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relating to the interests of consumers other than consumers of water

supplied to premises by licensed water suppliers.

           (2)           Before undertaking an investigation under this section the Council

shall consult the Authority, the Secretary of State and the Assembly.

           (3)           Where the Council has investigated a matter under this section it may

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make a report on that matter to the Authority, the Secretary of State, the

Office of Fair Trading, the Assembly or any other public authority

whose functions appear to the Council to be exercisable in relation to

that matter.

           (4)           Subject to subsection (5) below, the Council may—

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                  (a)                 send a report on any matter investigated under this section to

any person who appears to the Council to have an interest in

that matter; and

                  (b)                 publish any such report in such manner as the Council thinks

appropriate.

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           (5)           Information which relates to the affairs of any particular individual or

body of persons (corporate or unincorporate)—

                  (a)                 shall not be included in a report which is to be sent to any

person under subsection (4)(a) above, unless one or more of

paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (6) below applies; and

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Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    57

 

                  (b)                 shall be excluded from any such report which is to be published

under subsection (4)(b) above, unless one or more of

paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (7) below applies.

           (6)           Information relating to a particular individual or body may be included

in a report to be sent under subsection (4)(a) above if—

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                  (a)                 that individual or body has consented to the disclosure;

                  (b)                 it is information that is available to the public from some other

source; or

                  (c)                 it is not information the disclosure of which would or might, in

the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect the

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interests of that individual or body.

           (7)           Information relating to a particular individual or body may be included

in a report to be published under subsection (4)(b) above if—

                  (a)                 that individual or body has consented to the publication;

                  (b)                 it is information that is available to the public from some other

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source; or

                  (c)                 it is not information the publication of which would or might,

in the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect

the interests of that individual or body.

           (8)           Before deciding to include in such a report any information relating to

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a particular individual or body in pursuance of subsection (6)(c) or

(7)(c) above, the Council shall—

                  (a)                 consult that individual or body; and

                  (b)                 have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the

application of subsection (6)(c) or (7)(c) above to the

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information or as to the desirability or otherwise of its inclusion

in the report;

                                       and paragraph (b) applies whether the opinion is given in relation to

the information itself or to information of a description which applies

to that information.

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           (9)           The Council shall not include in any report to be sent under subsection

(4)(a) above or published under subsection (4)(b) above any

information which it considers relates to any matter which is, or is

likely to be, the subject of criminal proceedings.

           (10)          In considering whether information relates to any matter as mentioned

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in subsection (9) above, the Council shall have regard to any opinion

expressed (whether in relation to the information itself or to

information of a description which applies to that information) by the

Secretary of State, the Assembly or the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Enforcement of obligations

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 47    Financial penalties

     (1)    After section 22 of the WIA there is inserted—

 

 

 
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