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Electricity Sector | Consumer Affairs | Notices
SWAZILAND ENERGY REGULATORY AUTHORITY
POLICY ON THE RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS AND DISPUTES AND A GUIDE FOR COMPLAINANTS
(In Terms Of Section 21 and 40 of the Electricity Act, 2007)
The Authority is established in terms of the Energy Regulatory Act of 2007 to regulate the electricity supply industry in Swaziland by issuing licensees, specifying the duties of licensees, setting tariffs and resolving disputes between licensees or between licensees and their consumers in terms of the Electricity, Act, 2007.
In these by-laws unless the context otherwise indicates, a word or expression defined in the Act has the same meaning, and
“Act” means the Energy Regulatory Act No. 2 of 2007;
“Authority” means the Energy Regulatory Authority established in terms of section 3 of the Act;
“Arbitration” means the proceedings contemplated in section 40 of the Electricity Act, 2007;
“Complaint” means a complaint by a licensee or by a consumer to a licensee
“Dispute” means a dispute between licensees, or between licensees and their customers;
“Mediation” means mediation proceedings contemplated in terms of section 40 of the Electricity Act;
“Party” means a party to a dispute.
The Policy outlines the procedures the Authority will generally follow when dealing with a complaint or dispute which it has been requested to determine. The procedures in this policy apply in addition to any procedural requirements set out in the relevant legislation or licences.
4.0 DISPUTE RESOLUTION POWERS
The authority has the following dispute and complaints resolution powers in terms of section 21 read with section 40 of the Electricity Act, 2007:
This policy applies to complaints and disputes between licensees or between licensees and their consumers.
6.0 SUBMITTING A COMPLAINT OR DISPUTE
2. Within seven days after having received an Application, the Authority will acknowledge receipt to the Applicant.
3. Following acknowledgement of receipt, the Authority reserves the right to treat an Application as not having been properly made for the purposes of the relevant legislation where it does not comply with the Requirements. In such cases, the Authority may reject the Application and require the Applicant to submit a new Application which fulfils the Requirements.
7.0 DECISION ON JURISDICTION
2. Where the Authority decides that the complaint or dispute is not within its jurisdiction, it:
3. Where the Authority considers that the complaint or dispute is within its own jurisdiction, transfer the complaint or dispute to a committee established for the purpose for a determination.
4. The Authority may, during any period in which it is awaiting a decision from the Committee as to jurisdiction take any steps set out at Section 8 of this Policy which fall prior to issuing the draft determination in relation to the complaint or dispute.
5. The Authority will, in a case in which the Committee has determined that the complaint or dispute is within the Authority’s jurisdiction, take such steps set out at Section 8 of this Policy as the Committee requests it to take.
6. In all cases in which the Authority decides that the complaint or dispute is within the Authority’s jurisdiction, it will proceed in accordance with Section 7 to 9 of this Policy.
7.The following types of complaints shall be deemed to fall within the Authority’s jurisdiction:
Billing and Payment Issues
Quality of service Issues
8.0 TIMETABLE FOR ACCEPTED APPLICATIONS
1. In respect of a dispute or complaint which falls within the scope of the Authority, the Authority will issue its final determination within:
2. In respect of a dispute or complaint which falls outside the scope of this policy, the Authority will endeavour to issue its final determination on the matter as quickly as is practicable, and in particular will seek to do so:
9.0 PROCEDURE FOR ACCEPTED APPLICATIONS
1.In certain cases, the Authority has the power to refer complaints or disputes for determination by an arbitrator in lieu of the Authority. In such cases, the Authority would expect to exercise this power as soon as possible after deciding that the complaint or dispute is within the jurisdiction.
2. The Authority will, where it considers it appropriate, conduct a preliminary review to establish whether the complaint or dispute is one which can be resolved to the satisfaction of the Parties without the need to engage in a formal determination process.
3. Where a formal determination process is required, the Authority will as soon as practicable issue to the Parties a notice which outlines the procedure that it proposes to follow for the purpose of determining the complaint or dispute (the Notice). The Notice will specify where appropriate the date by which the Authority intends that each stage of the procedure should be completed.
4. The Notice may incorporate requirements on the Parties to take specified actions – for example, to submit evidence or representations (Submissions) – and to do so by certain specified times.
5. The Parties must comply with any requirement contained in the Notice.
6. The Authority may, at any time prior to making a final determination, by notice to the Parties amend any part of the Notice, including in particular by varying the time by which certain stages of the procedure or requirements of the Parties are to be completed.
7. The Authority may decide to consolidate two or more complaints or disputes for the purpose of considering and determining them together if those complaints or disputes are submitted to the Authority at approximately the same time and:
8. Where it decides to consolidate one or more complaints or disputes, the Authority will inform all the Parties as soon as practicable that it has done so, and inform them of the effect of the consolidation on the procedure to be followed.
9. In certain cases, the Authority has the power to order the Parties to pay some or all of its costs of determining the complaint or dispute (a Costs Order). Where the complaint or dispute is one in respect of which this power is available, the Authority will draw that fact to the attention of the Parties at an early stage (which in most cases will be at the time it issues the statement as to the procedure that it proposes to follow.
10. The Authority will ordinarily consider each complaint or dispute on the basis of written submissions by the Parties
11. The Authority will:
12. The Authority may;
13. The Authority may direct that any Party enters into a legally binding agreement with any other Party to treat the Submissions of that other Party as confidential to the complaint or dispute, and oblige that Party not to disclose the submissions or any details of them to any third person.
14. The Authority may invite the Parties to respond to questions or observations of the Authority.
15. Where it considers it necessary to do so, the Authority will have recourse to any applicable legal powers to raise formal information requests in order to obtain additional information or evidence.
16. If a Party has not complied with a requirement to make Submissions by a specified time, the Authority reserves the right not to accept any Submissions made after that time and to proceed to determine the complaint or dispute on the basis of the Submissions made in compliance with the Authority’s requirements.
17. The Authority may at any time invite the Parties to comment on the accuracy of any document prepared by the Authority which summarises the facts relevant to the complaint or dispute or the representations made by the Parties.
18. In a case where it considers it appropriate to do so, the Authority may decide to allocate to different representatives of the Authority:
19. Where the Authority allocates these responsibilities to different representatives, those responsible for Case Management will:
20. Where the Authority considers it appropriate, it may call for a hearing at which the Parties, and any other select invitees (by Authority invitation only) may be invited to:
In such cases, the Authority will inform the Parties in advance of the hearing of the procedure that it intends to follow at the hearing.
21. In all cases, the Authority will ensure that, prior to the making of the final determination:
2. The Authority may, and in certain cases has a legal duty to publish a notice stating the reasons for its determination of a complaint or dispute. Where it does publish a notice, it will do so in such a manner as the Authority considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters to which the notice relates to the attention of persons likely to be interested.
3. In making a decision as to whether to publish its reasons the Authority will have regard to the need for excluding any matter which would, or might, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of an individual or body.
11.0 CONTACT DETAILS
Further information regarding this document or applications regarding a particular dispute or complaint, should be directed to the Chief Executive Officer:
Physical Address: Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority
First Floor, RHUS Office Park
Karl Grant Street
Postal Address: Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority
P O Box 7137
Telephone: +268 2404 2103
+268 2404 8425
Fax: +268 2404 8474
+268 2404 8384
Email: email@example.com/complaints @sera.org.sz
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