The duties for most of our work as the economic regulator of the water sector are laid down in sections 2 and 3 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (WIA91) as amended. Here is a summary of those duties.
Under section 2 of WIA91 as amended, we must carry out most of our work as an economic regulator in the way we consider will best:
- further the consumer objective to protect the interests of consumers, wherever appropriate by promoting effective competition
- secure that water companies (meaning water and sewerage undertakers) properly carry out their statutory functions
- secure that water companies can (in particular through securing reasonable returns on their capital) finance the proper carrying out of their statutory functions
- secure that water supply licensees and sewerage licensees properly carry out their licensed activities and statutory functions
- further the resilience objective to secure the long-term resilience of water companies’ water supply and wastewater systems; and to secure that they take steps to enable them, in the long term, to meet the need for water supplies and wastewater services
Subject to our main duties above, we must also regulate in the way we consider will best:
- promote economy and efficiency by water companies in their work
- secure that no undue preference or discrimination is shown by water companies in fixing charges
- secure that no undue preference or discrimination is shown by water companies in relation to the provision of services by themselves or by water supply licensees or sewerage licensees
- secure that consumers’ interests are protected where water companies sell land
- ensure that consumers’ interests are protected in relation to any unregulated activities of water companies
- contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
We must also have regard to the principles of best regulatory practice. These include that regulatory activities should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted.
We must also act in accordance with the statutory strategic policy statements published by Defra and the Welsh Government.
We also have general environmental and recreational duties in section 3 of WIA91.
Licensed Infrastructure Providers
We also have similar duties to those that apply in relation to water companies when regulating licensed infrastructure providers, such as Tideway. This is set out in the Water Industry (Specified Infrastructure Providers) (English Undertakers) Regulations 2013