Ofwat’s announcement today is a key milestone in the Price Review process. Water companies will be looking closely at the details of what Ofwat has published and there is a lot of information for companies to work through.
However, what remains clear is that all companies are committed to keeping customers’ bills as low as possible in 2015-20. Water companies have listened to their hard-pressed customers and understand the cost of living pressures they are under.
To keep customers’ bills down in this period, returns to investors will be reduced. But companies will continue their major investment programmes, worth around £43bn in 2015-2020, to maintain and improve the high standard of water and sewerage services.
This investment means water companies will maintain the high quality of drinking water, meet their extensive legal obligations and duties to protect the environment. Water companies will also continue to provide help through a wide range of measures, including social tariffs, for customers under financial pressure and having difficulty in paying their bills.
Each company’s business plan is based on the needs and priorities of their customers and communities they serve. These needs and priorities, and the investments that are required to meet them, vary across the country – for example, further improvements to the quality of beaches to boost local tourism in coastal areas, increasing the resilience of water supplies to droughts in water-stressed areas, and reducing sewer flooding.
Note to editors:
Water companies spend millions each year supporting customers who need help with their water bills through a range of support and advice measures. These include totally or partially writing-off debt, offering lower bills through social tariff schemes, providing free debt advice, and free water-saving measures for customers on meters.