Can business owner make claims for business interruptions due to the failure in providing consistent services from water / telco / electricity providers.

Eg. Who would be at fault and will the business owner be compensate if water and power authority fail to deliver to a business for example; carwash.

Real Scenario.

  1. The liability on failure in providing consistent services from water/telco/electricity providers depends on the cause of such failure.
  2. We wish to highlight that:-

According to section 54(2) of Water Services Industry Act 2006, a water distribution licensee, eg: SYABAS shall not be liable for any damage to any person or property or for any reduction or cessation of the supply of water which—

  1. is approved by the Commission;
  2. is due to circumstances or accident which is not a result of its own doing or conduct; or
  3. is due to the unauthorized connection of equipment or water fittings.

According to section 17(3) of Electricity Supply Act 1990, a electricity supply licensee shall not be liable for any lost or damages caused by any cessation of the supply of electricity which may be due to:-

  1. unavoidable accident;
  2. fair wear and tear; or
  3. overloading due (i) to unauthorized connection of equipment, or (ii) to reasonable requirements of the system, or (iii) to defects in any installation not provided by the licensee.

However, such electricity supply licensee shall only be liable when the damage or cessation is shown to have resulted from negligence on the part of persons employed by the licensee, his agents or servants, as the case may be, or from his faulty construction of the installation.

The relevant governing Act is Communications And Multimedia Act 1998 (“CMA”). However, CMA does not expressly exempt the liability of the licensee, ie: telco companies if the telco companies fail to provide consistent services. Any disputes between the customer and the telco companies are subject to the terms and conditions between the customer and each respective telco company. Generally, it is stipulated in the terms and conditions that the telco companies are not liable for any damages or losses due to any suspension of services for whatsoever reasons, including for the purpose of upgrading their services, etc.

In short, any affected party may make a claim against those relevant licensees/service provider. However, do note that so long the relevant licensees/service providers interrupt or suspend their services in accordance to the abovementioned laws, it is unlikely for the said party to succeed in such claim.