Ofwat response to Government announcement on the water sector

Ofwat welcomes the Government’s announcement today calling for water companies to ensure that their customers get a fair deal. Ofwat has emphasised the need to bring bills down for households faced by increasing costs. It is essential that water companies ensure a fair balance of risk and reward between their shareholders and their customers.

As outlined by Ofwat’s Chairman Jonson Cox in a letter to water companies last week, Ofwat is calling on companies:

  • to build trust and legitimacy by listening to their customers;
  • to reduce bills in the period 2015 – 20, or fully explain to their customers why they are not; and
  • to listen to their customers when considering whether to take up the rises in prices they are allowed next year.

-ends-

Notes to editors

  1. 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. Ofwat last set prices for customers back in 2009 for the period 2010 – 15. Companies submitted proposals for average bill increases of 10% above inflation. Ofwat’s final decision meant average bills would rise broadly in line with inflation between 2010 – 15 across England and Wales.
  3. As part of the five-yearly price review process water companies, will submit their business plans for 2015 to 2020 in December. Ofwat has made changes to the way it regulates in future to make companies more efficient and customer-focused, as well as ensuring more sustainable water use. Ofwat is due to make a final decision on the future prices companies can charge by January 2015, with new bills coming into effect in April 2015.
  4. Media enquiries to Ofwat’s press office: