Ofwat announce further changes to water companies
‘Water and wastewater services are vital for public health, for our economy and society. Across England and Wales, we all rely on them every day’. (Ofwat forward programme 2016-17 – draft for consultation)
Possible changes in water company ownership
The water industry regulator Ofwat have stated further possible changes in water company ownership. They stated that changes were likely due to the opening up of the non-household retail market in England to competition. Introducing the consultation paper, Ofwat stated ‘Over the past year, we have made significant progress towards our ambitious strategy, ‘Trust in water’. Maintaining that momentum is essential. Over the coming year we will focus on delivering results in those areas where we can make the most impact.’
The paper describes the regulator’s vision for the water sector which requires everyone to play their part by:
- finalising proposals for water trading markets and markets for sludge treatment and disposal, and the implications for regulation;
- setting out in more detail how Ofwat proposes to protect customers through the next price review in 2019 which includes considering the recommendations in the recent National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee reports;
- carrying out critical work, alongside the UK Government, Market Operator Services Ltd (MOSL) and water companies, to ensure that choice for non-household customers is introduced successfully in April 2017;
- refining and developing work on monitoring frameworks, to ensure that Ofwat is able to assess company performance and resilience; ensuring that casework policies and process will support the delivery of good customer outcomes as a result of introducing choice for non-household customers in April 2017;
- continuing work to ensure that water companies understand and deliver in line with the needs of developers; and continuing work on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project to ensure good value for customers.
Ofwat is currently exploring the practical steps needed to jointly deliver services. The paper states that value for money will need to a key focus over the next five years to ensure they deliver maximum benefits to customers. At the same time, the sector faces some real challenges as the UK population is forecast to rise by 20% over the next 20 years, and climate change is resulting in more extreme weather events.
Click here to access the consultation paper and find out more.
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