The independent review of competition and innovation in the water industry, announced when the Government launched its new Water Strategy for England earlier this month, is to be led by Professor Martin Cave.
Confirming the appointment today in a speech to the Water UK City conference, Secretary of State Hilary Benn also published the review’s terms of reference.
Mr Benn said:
“I am very pleased that Professor Cave has agreed to lead this review. He has wide experience of competitive markets and working with Government and regulators, and was a non-executive director on Ofwat’s advisory board – all of which make him excellently placed to take forward this important work.
“The Water Strategy highlighted the need for action to ensure we have a sustainable water supply into the future, both for people and for the environment, and in particular in the face of pressures from climate change. The review of competition has a vital role in this, through increasing efficiency of water use and delivering benefits to both business and household customers. We expect the review to begin next month and to take around a year to complete.” Mr Benn also announced that the Government would be taking forward two of Ofwat’s recommendations alongside the review. One recommendation is to help ensure that customers of new entrant suppliers would continue to receive water in the event of an incumbent water company going into liquidation or otherwise failing, and another that will enable all new entrants to compete for national water supply contracts on an equal basis.
A further announcement is expected in the near future with more detail on the review of water charging. This review was announced as part of the Water Strategy, and will cover a broad range of issues including affordability, metering, tariffs and non-payment of water bills.