A customer’s house flooded following an unplanned water supply interruption (March 2014)

Outages, brownouts and power surges
Case Number 2014/10902
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

On 13 December 2013, the customer’s water supply was turned off due emergency works that needed to be completed to fix a leaking fire hydrant near his property. While the water supply was off, the customer’s children turned on the bathroom sink tap. When the water supply was restored, the bathroom and hallway flooded causing damage to carpets and a bathroom cabinet. He contacted his water corporation about the issue on the same day and it arranged for the carpets to be dried and assessed the damage to the bathroom cabinet. The carpets did not need to be replaced because of how quickly they had been professionally dried and cleaned. The customer then sent the water corporation a quote to replace the damaged bathroom cabinet on 17 February 2014. The water corporation did not agree to pay for the cost of replacing the bathroom cabinet and associated plumbing, which totaled just over $2,500, because it advised that the flooding was not its fault. It also explained that it was not obligated to clean the carpets or complete the restoration works.

Dissatisfied with the water corporation’s response to his claim, the customer contacted EWOV on 27 February 2014 for assistance and an Assisted Referral was raised. However, the water corporation suggested, that due to the complexity of the complaint, it would be better managed through EWOV’s Real Time Resolution process. However, this process didn’t resolve the customer’s complaint and it then progressed to an Investigation on 12 March 2014. EWOV liaised between the customer and the water corporation to seek more information about the emergency works and claimed damage.

The Outcome

EWOV’s investigation reviewed relevant laws and codes, the timeline of events, and information from the customer and water corporation about the supply interruption and subsequent flooding. EWOV confirmed that the water corporation was not liable to complete the restoration work on the customer’s carpet, however, it had done so as a goodwill gesture. The cost of these works, which included three separate visits, moisture tests and steam cleaning, was just over $4,100. The water corporation advised it would not contribute to the cost of replacing the bathroom cabinet as the damage was caused by the householder’s actions, not the actions of the water corporation. Based on the information EWOV had provided, the customer was satisfied that the water corporation was not required to replace the cabinet that had been damaged and the case was closed.

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