IB 04/13: Ofwat launches investigation into water company’s self-lay charges

Ofwat has launched a formal investigation under Chapter II prohibition (abuse of a dominant position) of the Competition Act 1998  into charges made to self-lay operators. The charges relate to the provision of new water mains for new development sites by a water company.

Notes to editors:

  1. If a development requires a new water main or sewer, the developer may ask the water or sewerage company to install the pipework. Alternatively, they may choose their own contractor to do the work, which is known as self-lay. If a contractor lays pipes in accordance with the terms of an agreement with a water company then the water company must connect those pipes to their supply system and take over responsibility for (adopt) them.
  2. Under section 25 of the Competition Act 1998, Ofwat may open a formal investigation into the conduct of a party or parties where it has reasonable grounds for suspecting that competition law has been breached. Once a case is opened, OFWAT will undertake a full investigation, to determine whether it considers the law has been infringed.
  3. Reference made to any case or party cannot be taken to indicate that Ofwat considers that party has in fact acted unlawfully.
  4. 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.
  5. Media enquiries to the Ofwat Press Office: 0121 644 7642 / 7616 / 7696 or [email protected]t.gsi.gov.uk