Posted: Wednesday 9th August 2017

Ofwat has published a consultation on the methodology for its forthcoming 2019 price review, the framework that regulates the price and service packages water companies must deliver for their customers for the 2020-25 period.

The proposals, which are centred on four themes, challenge water companies to step up to deliver for their customers, now and in the longer term. As part of the price review process, Ofwat will be assessing water companies' business plans to ensure that they understand what their customers need and also that plans are ambitious enough to deliver for their customers across the themes outlined. Companies with exceptional plans will benefit from early certainty, public recognition and financial benefits. Where plans are not considered to be of sufficiently high quality and stretching, Ofwat will step in to protect customers' interests.

The 2019 price review is aiming for a step change in the following areas in particular:

Great customer service: which means demonstrating real responsiveness, reliability and innovation in the way in which companies interact with and service their customers;

Long-term resilience in the round: including focusing on the long term, understanding and effectively mitigating risks and having in place the right people, infrastructure and processes, as well as robust finances and corporate structures, including at board level;

Affordability: by improving efficiency and delivering water bills that are affordable for all, including those struggling to pay; and,

Innovation: by working with customers, making greater use of markets and learning from best practice in other sectors to improve service and increase efficiency.

Ofwat Chief Executive Cathryn Ross said:
"Water companies provide a genuinely vital public service to the customers and communities they serve. To deliver more of what matters to customers against these expectations and to keep bills affordable, companies will need to become much more efficient and innovative. Our plans will encourage companies to be ambitious in what and how they deliver for customers, the environment and society, now and in the future. Water companies which perform poorly will find this a tough review."

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