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Last updated: 22 Nov 2021

Bulk hot water

Information for Victorian consumers about bulk hot water and answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is bulk hot water?

‘Bulk hot water’ is water that is centrally heated (usually by gas) and delivered to a number of customers in a multi-dwelling property such as apartment buildings.

What is a bulk hot water system?

Bulk hot water systems are large storage hot water units which can hold thousands of litres of hot water. They are used in place of individual hot water systems.

The hot water is delivered to each individual flat or apartment in a building via pipes from the bulk hot water system. Each individual flat or apartment has its own bulk hot water meter that measures the amount of hot water consumed.

The meter that measures the gas used to heat the bulk hot water system is called the Master Gas Meter. The company that bills you for your bulk hot water usage also owns the billing rights to the Master Gas Meter.

EWOV can handle many of the problems that can arise with your bulk hot water company.

We can deal with:

- Billing e.g. high bills, estimated bills

- Credit e.g. payment difficulties

- Disconnection of supply e.g. for debt

- Transfers e.g. delay setting up an account

- Provision of supply e.g. meter fault

- Supply issues e.g. unplanned outage

Bulk Hot Water matters EWOV can’t deal with:

- Most issues with the bulk hot water system (the storage tank and heating equipment) as this is generally the responsibility of the Owners’ Corporation or Building Management.

- Most issues to do with switching bulk hot water companies as this is an issue for the Owners’ Corporation or Building Management.

- Bulk hot water complaints about an Owners’ Corporation or Building Management. EWOV can only receive complaints about Scheme Participants. They are listed on this page: ewov.com.au/members/find-a-member.

Will I receive two gas bills?

Probably. Customers are billed separately for all other gas usage (gas used for heating or cooking, for example). Therefore, if you have gas appliances, you may receive natural gas bills from one company and bulk hot water bills from a different company.

Why is there a multiplier on my bill?

Bulk hot water meters can be both imperial (measuring in gallons) or metric (measuring in tens of litres). A unique conversion factor is then applied to work out the bulk hot water charges.

Do I still get cold water bills?

Yes. Customers with bulk hot water are billed separately for cold water usage by their local water corporation. Customers receive quarterly water bills from their water corporation, in addition to a bi-monthly bulk hot water bill from their bulk hot water company.

Can I change my bulk hot water company?

Generally not. Individual properties within a multi-dwelling building cannot transfer their individual account to a different bulk hot water company.

However, it may be possible to change bulk hot water companies if the Owners’ Corporation or Building Management decide to transfer the Master Gas Meter and all of the bulk hot water accounts to a new company.

Who is responsible for reading and maintaining my bulk hot water meter?

Your bulk hot water company is responsible for taking bi- monthly meter reads and also for maintaining your meter in good working order.

Do I receive a concession on bulk hot water?

If you hold an eligible concession card, you can receive relevant concessions. More information on concessions is available from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing: 1800 658 521 or services.dffh.vic.gov.au/concessions-and-benefits.

Does the Energy Retail Code apply even though my account is for ’water’?

Yes. All of the customer protections and responsibilities under the Energy Retail Code apply as the contract is for energy (usually gas) not water. Bulk hot water companies must hold a relevant energy licence to sell you bulk hot water, not a water licence.

Does a daily supply charge apply?

No. A daily supply charge should not apply to bulk hot water bills as this is factored into the tariff.