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Schedule 7 - Further amendments

Water Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 10th December 2013.

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Amendments made: 126, in schedule 7, page 142, line 9, at end insert—

‘(1ZA) Before determining the standard conditions, the Secretary of State must consult the Welsh Ministers as regards conditions relating to a restricted retail authorisation or a supplementary authorisation.’.

Amendment 127, in schedule 7, page 151, line 31, after ‘1A’ insert ‘of this Part’.

Amendment 128, in schedule 7, page 155, line 33, at end insert—

In section 47 (conditions of connection with water main), in subsection (1), for “sections 48 to” substitute “sections 49 and”.’.

Amendment 129, in schedule 7, page 155, line 39, at end insert—

In section 55 (supplies for non-domestic purposes), in subsection (1A)(b), after “17C above) or” insert “, in the case of premises to be supplied using the supply system of a water undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in Wales,”.’.—(Dan Rogerson.)

Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I beg to move amendment 162, in schedule 7, page 155, line 42, leave out from beginning to end of line 16 on page 156 and insert—

‘( ) In subsection (1)—

(a) for “the following provisions of this section” there is substituted “subsections (1A) to (6)”;

(b) after “cut off a supply of water to any premises,” there is inserted “if subsection (1ZA) or (1ZB) applies.

(1ZA) This subsection applies”.

( ) After the subsection (1ZA) so formed there is inserted—

“(1ZB) This subsection applies if a water supply licensee requests the undertaker to disconnect the service pipe or otherwise cut off the supply of water to the premises.

(1ZC) A water supply licensee may make a request under subsection (1ZB) only if—

(a) the occupier of the premises is liable under an agreement with the licensee to pay charges to the licensee in respect of the supply of water to the premises,

(b) the licensee has served notice on the occupier requiring payment of charges due,

(c) the occupier has failed to pay the charges before the end of the period of seven days beginning with the day after the notice was served, and

(d) that period has expired.”

( ) In subsection (2)—

(a) in paragraph (a), for “subsection (1)” there is substituted “subsection (1ZA)”;

(b) in the words following paragraph (b), for “that subsection” there is substituted “subsection (1)”.

( ) After subsection (2) there is inserted—

“(2A) Where—

(a) a water supply licensee has served a notice for the purposes of subsection (1ZC)(b) on a person, and

(b) within the period of seven days mentioned in subsection (1ZC)(c), the person serves a counter-notice on the licensee stating that he disputes his liability to pay the charges in question, the licensee may not make a request under subsection (1ZB) in relation to the premises except at a time when that person is the occupier of the premises and those charges are enforceable against that person in a manner specified in subsection (3).

( ) In subsection (3)—

(a) after “subsection (2)” there is inserted “or (2A)”;

(b) in paragraph (a), after “the undertaker” there is inserted “or, as the case may be, the licensee”;

(c) in paragraph (b), after “the undertaker” there is inserted “or, as the case may be, the licensee”.’.

Photo of Linda Riordan Linda Riordan Labour, Halifax

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments 163 to 165.

Photo of Dan Rogerson Dan Rogerson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:00 pm, 10th December 2013

The amendments amend schedule 7, which includes minor and consequential changes to the now-famous Water Industry Act 1991 and to other enactments.

Amendments 162 and 163 amend provisions in the Bill relating to the disconnection of premises when the customer has failed to make payments to the licensee. The licensee may request that the incumbent water company cuts off the water supply so that the customer cannot continue running up debts. That corresponds to the existing powers an undertaker has to cut off premises for the same reasons. The amendments ensure that the water supply will not be cut off if the customer is still able to dispute the debt, or where shared supplies go to other premises served by other licensees. That ensures that customers who pay their debts are not denied a supply because of a defaulting customer’s failure to make payments. The existing protections for certain premises, such as homes and hospitals, are preserved.

Amendment 164 picks up a long-standing error in section 219 of the 1991 Act, where the definition of protected land should refer to section 217, not section 218. Amendment 165 amends the transfer of functions order that transferred some of the Secretary of State’s functions under the 1991 Act to Welsh Ministers. The term “licensed water suppliers” is changed to “water supply licensees”.

Amendment 162 agreed to.

Amendments made: 163, in schedule 7, page 156, line 27, at end insert—

‘( ) In subsection (5)—

(a) in paragraph (b)—

(i) after “those premises” there is inserted “(“the primary premises”)”;

(ii) after “other premises” there is inserted “(“the secondary premises”)”;

(b) in the words after paragraph (b)—

(i) for “those other premises” there is substituted “the secondary premises”;

(ii) for “the premises in relation to which the charges are due” there is substituted “the primary premises”;

(iii) for “the other premises” there is substituted “the secondary premises”.

( ) After subsection (5) there is inserted—

(6) The undertaker may not cut off the supply to the secondary premises in reliance on subsection (5) if—

(a) in a case where the undertaker is exercising the power in subsection (1) because charges are due to it, the secondary premises are supplied by a person other than the undertaker;

(b) in a case where the undertaker is exercising the power in subsection (1) because of a request for disconnection under subsection (1ZB), the secondary premises are supplied by a person other than the licensee which made that request.”’.

Amendment 164, in schedule 7, page 162, line 18, at end insert—

‘(00) in the definition of “protected land”, in paragraph (b), for “section 218” there is substituted “section 217”.’.

Amendment 165, in schedule 7, page 162, line 30, at end insert—

‘The National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/672)

92A In Schedule 1 to the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999, in the entry relating to the Water Industry Act 1991—

(a) for “licensed water suppliers” there is substituted “water supply licensees”;

(b) for “licensed water supplier”, in each place those words occur, there is substituted “water supply licensee.’.—(Dan Rogerson.)

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.