Ofwat
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Ofwat welcomes report focusing on customer benefits

A report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee, which focuses on the Draft Water Bill delivering benefits to customers, has been welcomed by Ofwat.

Regina Finn, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer said:

“We welcome this thoughtful and detailed report, with its focus on delivering benefits to customers.

“Customers will lose out if we don’t get better at managing our water. Our proposals to get companies trading water could deliver up to £1billion of benefit. So we welcome the £2billion extra benefits that can be captured for customers, if we all work together to make the Bill a success.

“In the end, we all share the goal of delivering solutions that benefit customers, and the environment, now and in the long term.”

Ofwat agrees with the committee that all parties now need to work on how the upstream arrangements can work in practice. It is vital that they are implemented in a way that improves resilience and maintains investor confidence in the sector, while also maximising the benefits for customers and UK plc.

Ofwat is looking forward to working with the government, the water sector, environmental groups, customers and other interested parties in the coming months to put flesh on the bones of the proposals in the Draft Bill.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. It exercises its powers in a way that it judges will protect the interests of consumers, promote value and safeguard future water and sewerage services by allowing efficient companies to carry out their functions properly, and finance them.
  2. The EFRA Committee’s report on the Draft Water Bill was published on 1 February 2013, and is available to view here.
  3. Ofwat’s consultation ‘Setting Price Limits for 2015 - 2020 - framework and approach’ was published on 28 January and is available on www.ofwat.gov.uk  
  4. More than £108 billion has been invested since privatisation – that is around £4.5 billion a year and roughly double pre-privatisation levels. Benefits of this investment include:
    • leakage has been reduced by 35% since its mid-90s peak, saving enough water to meet the daily needs of about 12 million people;
    • about 380,000 fewer customers are at risk of lower pressure – a reduction of 99% since 1990;
    • in 2011 99.96% of drinking water in England and Wales met the standards required by the European Drinking Water Directive. This is comparable with the Netherlands – the best presently reported in Europe; and
    • in 1990 only 78% of bathing waters in England and Wales met minimum standards, compared with more than 98% now.
  5. Media enquiries to Ofwat Press Office on:
    Benedict Fisher 0121 644 7642 /
    benedict.fisher@ofwat.gsi.gov.uk  
    Harbinder Babra 0121 644 7616 /
    harbinder.babra@ofwat.gsi.gov.uk
    Simon Markall 0121 644 7696 /
    simon.markall@ofwat.gsi.gov.uk

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