Competition and Service (Utilities) Act 1992

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1992 c. 43


Competition and Service(Utilities) Act 1992

1992 CHAPTER 43

An Act to make provision with respect to standards of performance and service to customers in relation to the telecommunications, gas supply, electricity supply, water supply and sewerage service industries; to make provision with respect to complaints by, and disputes with, customers in those industries; to make provision with respect to the powers of the regulators of those industries and with respect to related matters; to make provision with respect to the payment of deposits by customers of certain telecommunications operators; to make further provision for facilitating effective competition in certain of those industries; to make provision with respect to mergers of water or sewerage undertakers; to make provision with respect to compliance orders against public gas suppliers; to make a minor correction in section 98 of the Water Industry Act 1991; and for connected purposes.

[16th March 1992]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Standards of Performance and Service to Customers

Part I

Standards of Performance and Service to Customers

Telecommunications

Telecommunications

S-1 Standards of performance.

1 Standards of performance.

1. The following sections shall be inserted in the Telecommunications Act 1984,after section 27—

Standards of performance

‘Standards of performance

S-27A

27A Standards of performance in individual cases.

(1) The Director may make regulations prescribing, for any designated operator, such standards of performance in connection with the provision of relevant services by that operator as, in his opinion, ought to be achieved in individual cases.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) above may only be made—

(a) with the consent of the Secretary of State;

(b) after consulting—

(i) the designated operator; and

(ii) persons or bodies appearing to the Director to be representative of persons likely to be affected by the regulations; and

(c) after arranging for such research as the Director considers appropriate with a view to discovering the views of a representative sample of persons likely to be so affected and considering the results.

(3) Regulations under this section may—

(a) prescribe circumstances in which the designated operator is to inform persons of their rights under this section;

(b) prescribe such standards of performance in relation to any duty arising under paragraph (a) above as, in the Director's opinion, ought to be achieved in all cases;

(c) prescribe circumstances in which the designated operator is to be exempted from any requirements of the regulations or this section.

(4) If the designated operator fails to meet a prescribed standard, he shall make to any person who is affected by the failure such compensation as may be determined by or under the regulations.

(5) The making of compensation under this section in respect of any failure to meet a prescribed standard shall not prejudice any other remedy which may be available in respect of the act or omission which constituted that failure.

(6) Any dispute arising under this section or regulations made under this section—

(a) may be referred to the Director by either party; and

(b) on such a reference, shall be determined by order made—

(i) by the Director; or

(ii) by such other person as may be prescribed.

(7) Any person making an order under subsection (6) above shall include in the order his reasons for reaching his decision with respect to the dispute.

(8) The practice and procedure to be followed in connection with any such determination shall be such as may be prescribed.

(9) An order under subsection (6) above shall be final and shall be enforceable—

(a) in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland, as if it were a judgment of a county court; and

(b) in Scotland, as if it were an extract registered decree arbitral bearing a warrant for execution issued by the sheriff.

(10) In this section ‘prescribed’ means prescribed by regulations under this section.

S-27B

27B Overall standards of performance.

(1) The Director may from time to time—

(a) determine such standards of overall performance in connection with the provision of relevant services by the designated operator as, in his opinion, ought to be achieved by that operator; and

(b) arrange for the publication, in such form and in such manner as he considers appropriate, of the standards so determined.

(2) The Director may only make a determination under subsection (1)(a) above after—

(a) consulting the designated operator concerned and persons or bodies appearing to the Director to be representative of persons likely to be affected; and

(b) arranging for such research as the Director considers appropriate with a view to discovering the views of a representative sample of persons likely to be affected and considering the results.’

S-2 Information with respect to levels of performance.

2 Information with respect to levels of performance.

2. The following section shall be inserted in the Telecommunications Act 1984,after section 27B—

S-27C

27C ‘Information with respect to levels of performance.

(1) The Director shall from time to time collect information with respect to—

(a) the compensation made by designated operators under section 27A above; and

(b) the levels of overall performance achieved by designated operators in connection with the provision of relevant services.

(2) At such times as the Director may direct, each designated operator shall give the following information to the Director—

(a) as respects each standard prescribed by regulations under section 27A above, the number of cases in which compensation was made and the aggregate amount or value of that compensation; and

(b) as respects each standard determined under section 27B above, such information with respect to the level of performance achieved by the operator as may be so specified.

(3) A designated operator who, without reasonable excuse, fails to do anything required of him by subsection (2) above shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(4) The Director shall, at least once in every year, arrange for the publication, in such form and in such manner as he considers appropriate, of such of the information collected by or furnished to him under this section as it may appear to him expedient to give to users or potential users of any relevant services provided by designated operators.

(5) In arranging for the publication of any such information the Director shall have regard to the need for excluding, so far as practicable—

(a) any matter which relates to the affairs of an individual, where publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Director, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual; and

(b) any matter which relates specifically to the affairs of a particular body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate, where publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Director, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that body.’

S-3 Information to be given to customers about overall performance.

3 Information to be given to customers about overall performance.

3. The following section shall be inserted in the Telecommunications Act 1984,after section 27C—

S-27D

27D ‘Information to be given to customers about overall performance.

(1) Each designated operator shall, in such form and manner and with such frequency as the Director may direct, take steps to inform those of his customers to whom he supplies relevant services of—

(a) the standards of overall performance determined under section 27B above which are applicable to that operator; and

(b) that operator's level of performance as respects each of those standards.

(2) In giving any such direction, the Director shall not specify a frequency of less than once in every period of twelve months.’

S-4 Procedures for dealing with complaints.

4 Procedures for dealing with complaints.

4. The following section shall be inserted in the Telecommunications Act 1984,after section 27D—

S-27E

27E ‘Procedures for dealing with complaints.

(1) Each designated operator shall establish a procedure for dealing with complaints made by his customers or potential customers in connection with the provision by the designated operator of relevant services.

(2) No such procedure shall be established, and no modification of such a procedure shall be made, unless—

(a) the designated operator has consulted persons or bodies appearing to him to be representative of customers for whom he provides relevant services; and

(b) the proposed procedure or modification has been approved by the Director.

(3) The designated operator shall—

(a) publicise the procedure in such manner as may be approved by the Director; and

(b) send a description of the procedure, free of charge, to any person who asks for one.

(4) The Director may give a direction to a designated operator requiring the operator to review his procedure or the manner in which it operates.

(5) A direction under subsection (4) above—

(a) may specify the manner in which the review is to be conducted; and

(b) shall require a written report of the review to be made to the Director.

(6) Where the Director receives a report under subsection (5)(b) above, he may, after consulting the designated operator, direct him to make such modifications of—

(a) the procedure; or

(b) the manner in which the procedure operates,

as may be specified in the direction.

(7) Subsection (2) above...

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