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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Poland's UOKiK publishes guidebook on water and sanitation services

< previous | next > 13.07.2016

Poland's UOKiK publishes guidebook on water and sanitation services

Spurred to act by the sheer number of irregularities in the water and sanitation services market, UOKiK publishes handbook aimed at clarifying a wide range of issues.

Despite numerous interventions on the water and sanitation services market, the number of problems has not fallen, and illegal practices continue to occur throughout the country. Seeking to stem them, Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) recently published and distributed the “Water and sanitation services handbook” to water utilities and local governments across Poland.

According to UOKiK President Marek Niechciał, the scale of irregularities makes the publication „required reading for water utilities and the municipal governments that own them.” The President would also like the book in the hands of consumers, who are often directly affected by illegal practices.

The book’s three parts cover contract design, irregularities in how contracts are used, and the most problematic issue UOKiK sees — building networks and connecting customers.  Specific irregularities that have been the subject of UOKiK decisions are presented. One issue described at length is when a company can legally cut off the water supply and cancel a contract. While there are times when both are permissible, a number of water companies have assumed that right when it is not legal, which the handbook describes along with UOKiK’s assessment of those practices.

The book also devotes a good deal of attention to water and sanitation connections, and details the Authority’s view on which costs customers should and should not be asked to cover. Clarifying that question is essential if conflicts between the companies and users and the local community are to be avoided. Differences in how a connection is defined, a particularly thorny issue, can be attributed primarily to vague laws, which UOKiK believes should be addressed through legislation. Amid these questions, Poland’s water law is currently being amended.

The water services and sanitation handbook” is in Polish and can be downloaded for free on UOKiK’s webpage.

Additional information for the media:

Press Office, UOKiK
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone.: +48 22 827 28 92, +48 22 55 60 314, +48 22 55 60 430
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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