SOUTH WEST WATER’S PLAN GETS GREEN LIGHT FROM OFWAT & SETS “A NEW STANDARD FOR THE SECTOR”
31st January 2019
South West Water’s 2020-25 business plan today got the thumbs up from industry regulator Ofwat, who said it “set a new standard for the sector”. Customers can look forward to lower bills, further investment, a unique share offering and more control in how the water company is run.
Entitled a ‘New Deal’, the plan will now be fast-tracked for a draft price determination in April, providing early planning certainty for the company and its customers. South West Water is the only water company to have achieved this status for two consecutive price reviews. Most other companies will have to wait until later in the year before their plans get the green light from the regulator. South West Water’s five-year plan sees the average water and sewerage bill falling by 11 per cent in real terms between 2020 and 2025, with the average bill in 2025 being lower than it was in 2010, and extra steps being taken to eliminate water poverty. At the same time the company plans to spend more than £1billion to improve services, enhance the environment and strengthen resilience.
A striking feature of the New Deal is to offer customers a shareholding in South West Water’s parent company, Pennon Group Plc, and a greater say in how the water firm is run. The invitation to take a stake in the business builds on an existing pioneering scheme which shares South West Water’s success with customers either through extra investment or lower bills.
Dr Stephen Bird, Managing Director of South West Water, said: “We’re encouraged that the regulator has a high regard for our business plan, particularly as it was shaped by our biggest ever consultation with customers. We are very grateful for the feedback we received.
“Our New Deal empowers customers to be part of our business and have more control. It redefines the relationship between a water company and its customers, and recognises our societal responsibilities.”
Nick Buckland OBE, Chair of the independent WaterFuture Customer Panel, which scrutinised and assured South West Water’s development of the plan against customer wishes, said: “The panel offered strong constructive challenge as the plan was developed. To its credit, South West Water listened and acted on what customers said. The result is an innovative plan that reduces bills, invests more, protects the environment, gives customers more control, and supports those most in need.”
For further information on South West Water’s New Deal visit southwestwater.co.uk/newdeal
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