Posted: Tuesday 4th June 2013

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has outlined its proposed approach to the next price review, when water and sewerage charges will be set for 2015-21. The document ‘Strategic Review of Charges 2015-21: Innovation and choice’ explains the changes that have been put in place to ensure that the Scottish water industry is equipped to face the challenges of the future and continues to provide high-quality services at the best value price. The approach builds on developments introduced at the last price review in 2009.

Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive of WICS, said: “Our approach is based on three essential elements: empowered customers, encouraging and rewarding innovation, and sustainable financing. By addressing these elements we are ensuring that Scottish Water takes full ownership of its decisions, is answerable to its customers, and has the right incentives to pursue solutions that are in the best interests of customers and the environment.”

Together with Scottish Water and Consumer Focus Scotland, WICS has established a new body, the Customer Forum. The Forum includes retailers operating in the Scottish market and individuals. It is chaired by Peter Peacock, an experienced and widely respected former Minister in the Scottish Government. The Forum will engage with Scottish Water to identify an appropriate combination of prices and levels of service.

This process will take place within a clearly defined policy framework set by the Scottish Government – specifically on the social, environmental and public health outcomes to be achieved and the principles that should underpin the setting of water and sewerage charges in Scotland.

WICS is also taking steps to ensure that Scottish Water has the financial strength needed to finance future improvements effectively and remains financially sustainable in the long term. These include introducing a binding range for Scottish Water’s financial strength and creditworthiness, and allowing Scottish Water flexibility in how it uses its resources.

Mr Sutherland added: “Our changes aim to allow Scottish Water to operate its business and deliver improvements in the most cost-effective way. We are removing any barriers inherent in the current framework that may prevent Scottish Water achieving ‘best bang for buck’ from the financial resources it has available. We are also making sure that the regulatory framework accommodates long-term projects or those of potentially higher risk but with potentially higher benefits for customers or the environment.

“Publishing this document is a major milestone in the price review process. We will be working with customer representatives, the quality regulators and Scottish Water over the coming months to determine best value services for water and sewerage services.”

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March 2021

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