Last year Ofwat set out its vision of trust and confidence in water and waste water services, a vision it shares with the sector and other stakeholders. It also established its approach of updating its rolling five year business plan each year.
To help achieve its vision, Ofwat has set the following objectives for the year ahead:
- make sure markets deliver real benefits for customers, the environment and society
- promote the sector’s accountability to the public with the release of more transparent information
- maintain customer and investor confidence through a period of change
- make sure that Ofwat has the skills, experience, systems, processes and culture to support its strategy.
As part of its efforts to promote transparency across the sector, Ofwat has also published a series of specific milestones for 2016-17:
- Make the final arrangements for opening the new retail market for business, charity and public sector organisations in England from April 2017
- Review the options and benefits of extending retail competition to residential customers in England and Wales
- Publish a framework for the 2019 price review and complete the first phase of its delivery model
- Establish an approach to modernise and simplify water companies’ licences to allow the sector to deliver for customers at a time of change
- Explore the practical steps needed to share, provide, outsource or jointly deliver services with other regulators.
Commenting on the new business plan, Cathryn Ross, Ofwat Chief Executive, said:
“We have great ambition for the next five years and are starting as we mean to go on with big plans for 2016-17. In the coming twelve months, we want to establish the foundations that will enable trust and confidence in water, now and in the future. The programme we have set out marks a significant change for us but also for water companies, with the ultimate goal of benefiting customers.
“And while the detail we have set out today focuses on what we are doing over the coming five years, we know we need to look beyond that. The sector, and consequently Ofwat, faces some important long-term challenges over resilience, demand and customer expectation. To meet these challenges, we need to act now.
“Part of the answer rests in our setting the conditions for a healthy, vibrant, innovative and evolving market that aligns interests and delivers benefits for customers, companies and their investors, over the short-term and long-term.
“We cannot do this alone. We want to see water companies back our ambition, support our vision for the sector, and work with us to make the vision a reality.”