A customer called EWOV concerned about vegetation management (December 2014)

Meters, poles, wires and pipes
Case Number 2014/30756
Outcome Conciliation

The Issue

The customer was dissatisfied with her water corporation's vegetation management. She was concerned about a tree located behind her property near a reserve, on land managed by the water corporation. When it rained the tree caused a drain to block and flood around the area. She also believed the tree was a safety risk when there were high winds. On 1 July 2014, she called the water corporation and was advised that the tree did not pose any danger to her property. Not satisfied with this information, the following day she called her local council and was advised that maintenance was the water corporation's responsibility.

The customer called EWOV on 2 July 2014, and an Assisted Referral was raised. The water corporation contact the customer and advised her again that the tree was not causing the blocked drain. The customer recontacted EWOV on 17 July 2014, dissatisfied with the information provided by the water corporation. The matter was escalated to EWOV's Real Time Resolution (RTR) process.

The Investigation

Given the complexity of the customer's issues, EWOV escalated the matter to an Investigation. As part of our investigation, EWOV reviewed the water corporation's responsibilities for the tree and its inspection of it. This confirmed that on 7 July 2014, the water corporation had organised an arborist to inspect the tree which resulted in a low hazard risk assessment.

The water corporation also advised that it believed that the drain the customer was concerned about was part of the council-owned drainage system. The water corporation advised that the council had confirmed that the drain allowed stormwater to overflow if it reached capacity.  As the asset is owned by the council, it would need to complete any alteration to its design. However, the water corporation advised it would directly liaise with the council to explain the customer's concerns about tree matter covering the drainage grill, and would suggest routine inspections be carried out.

The water corporation also advised that the property backs onto a water reservoir - where water accumulates during flood events but dissipates over time. The customer's property was assessed as being above the 100 year flood level, meaning there was low risk of the customer's property being flooded.

The Outcome

The water corporation acknowledged that the customer was dissatisfied with the customer service received prior to coming to EWOV. To assist with any future concerns it advised the customer to contact its call centre for escalation and assessments. It also agreed that if the property was to be damaged by the tree, it would assisted the customer with its claims process.

Although not satisfied that the tree would not be removed, the customer accepted the information provided and that there was no evidence to suggest an alternative outcome. The customer agreed to the closure of the Investigation.

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