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Uncertain Times for Water Customers

The Consumer Council for Water today (Monday 11 August 2008) announced that water companies in England and Wales are proposing bill increases ranging from inflation only, up to over 25% above the rate of inflation between 2010 and 2015. Some water customers will see their bills rise by inflation only, others face more significant increases. Proposed price increases have been published in water companies' draft business plans, which are being used as a starting point for the discussions that will decide water price limits between 2010 and 2015. [...]

August 12, 2008 // 0 Comments

Water Companies Improving Say Ofwat

Water companies, responding to Ofwat's challenge, have delivered improvements to customer services and the environment. According to companies' annual returns for 2007-08: * Every water company in England and Wales either hit or beat its leakage target; * Overall leakage fell by 127 million litres per day (Ml/d) from 3,418 Ml/d in 2006-07 to 3,291 Ml/d in 2007/08. This is equal to the daily needs of nearly one million domestic consumers; * The number of sewage treatment works seriously breaching permit limits set to protect the environment fell from 152 in 2006-07 to 107 in 2007-08 - the lowest number in the last 10 years; * The number of serious sewage-related pollution incidents fell from 115 in 2006-07 to 83 in 2007-08 - one-fifth of level 12 years ago; and * Most companies have reduced the number of properties at risk of sewer flooding, although the returns show that the number of sewer-flooding incidents increased because of last year's severe weather. [...]

July 30, 2008 // 0 Comments

Ofwat Confirms Severn Trent Fine

Ofwat today confirmed that it has fined Severn Trent Water £35.8million for deliberately providing false information to Ofwat and for delivering poor service to its [...]

July 2, 2008 // 0 Comments

Ofwat planning water efficiency targets

Water companies would face targets to help customers save more than 23 million litres of water a day (Ml/d), under proposals published by Ofwat. George Day, Ofwat's Director of Network Regulation, said: "We have to use water more carefully and cut waste if we are to continue to enjoy safe, reliable water supplies. "The new approach to water efficiency targets we are proposing will be challenging for companies but help to reduce wasteful use of water. This should mean lower costs, lower customer bills and good news for the environment." [...]

June 22, 2008 // 0 Comments

Wessex Water’s Customers to Benefit from Profits

The Consumer Council for Water has applauded Wessex Water for sharing the company's success with its consumers by using a portion of their profits to invest in improved services. The water watchdog recently wrote to each water company challenging them to think about consumers in their profit announcement so that consumers, not just shareholders, benefit from a successful year. Wessex Water has risen to the challenge and over the next two years committed to spend an extra £14 million from their profits above and beyond what is required by the regulator, Ofwat. The investments will be used to further reduce leakage, provide greater security of supply, and reduce the risk of sewer flooding. [...]

June 13, 2008 // 0 Comments

Thames Water to Help Disadvantaged Consumers

The Consumer Council for Water has welcomed Thames Water's announcement that it intends to establish a £5 million charitable trust and spend a further £5 million on community related projects in London and the South East. This is a positive first step in answering the Consumer Council for Water's call to share more of the company's profit success with its consumers. [...]

June 11, 2008 // 0 Comments

Consumer Council for Water wants Customers to Share Thames Water’s Profits

The Consumer Council for Water today (Thursday 5 June) called for customers to share in the success of Thames Water's 34% increase in profits. Thames Water announced extremely good operational and financial results for 2007-08. The company is now more efficient leading to a reduction in operating costs. This has in turn led to an increase in operating profits to £590.1m from £439.1m. But with profits of this scale customers are bound to expect a share in this success. [...]

June 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

Customers should benefit from Water Companies’ success

Water and sewerage companies in England and Wales will soon be announcing profit figures for 2007/8 but consumers, as well as shareholders, should share in their success, says the Consumer Council for Water. The water watchdog has written to all water and sewerage companies calling for them to return value to consumers, either by keeping price increases to inflation levels or below, or providing extra investment in pipes, sewers and treatment works that will provide future consumer benefits. [...]

May 23, 2008 // 0 Comments

Ofwat recommends opening water and sewerage markets to competition

Ofwat today published the second part of its review of competition in the water and sewerage sectors. In it they recommend that contestable water and sewerage markets are opened to competition where it will benefit consumers, and they describe the work we will be doing to enable this to happen. Ofwat Chief Executive Regina Finn said: "We want to achieve an efficient and innovative sector which is able to respond to the challenges facing it, such as climate change, rising consumer expectations and growing population in water-scarce areas. Competition can help deliver that. [...]

May 17, 2008 // 0 Comments

Water Saving Advice from the Consumer Council for Water

After a severe drought in the south east of England in 2006, followed by one of the wettest summers on record in 2007, gardeners may be wary of what the summer of 2008 has in store. Whatever the weather, the Consumer Council for Water has tips to help keep gardens in tip top condition this summer. Take advantage of wet weather by installing a water butt, which collects rain water from a downpipe running from the roof, shed or greenhouse. [...]

May 1, 2008 // 1 Comment

Ofwat hits Thames Water with £9.7 million fine

Ofwat today has fined Thames Water 0.7% of turnover (£9.7 million) for misreporting information and delivering poor service to customers. Ofwat is now publishing final notices penalising the company, after proposing to fine the company last September. Deficient systems and low business priority on reporting non-financial data led to the company misreporting customer service information. This damaged the regulatory process. [...]

April 17, 2008 // 0 Comments

Ofwat proposes £35.8 million fine on Severn Trent Water

Ofwat today published its proposals to fine Severn Trent Water 3% of its turnover - a total of £35.8 million - for deliberately providing false information to the regulator and providing a poor service to its customers. Ofwat's proposed fine on Severn Trent Water breaks down as follows: * 2.9% of 2006-07 turnover (£34.7 million) for deliberately misreporting some key customer service information; and * 0.1% of 2005-06 turnover (£1.1 million) for providing sub-standard services to customers in 2005-06 by failing to meet Guaranteed Standards of Service. [...]

April 9, 2008 // 0 Comments

GMB Want Public Control of Water Industry

GMB, the water workers union, plan to step up a campaign to secure a new ownership structure for the UK water industry that would lead to better value for consumers and open the way to develop new water supplies for London and the South East. This coincides with a warning sounded by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which produced a map showing hot-spots where the water available to each person was likely to be at a premium. There are fears that within 20 years a parched zone will spread across the country from the Bristol Channel to the Norfolk coast and north of the Midlands. [...]

March 6, 2008 // 0 Comments

Review of competition and innovation in water

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. [...]

February 28, 2008 // 0 Comments

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