Welsh Water has said it is to invest a record £47 million as part of its “customer dividend” this year.
The company runs on a not-for-profit basis and the funds, up from £40 million in 2018, come from money that would otherwise be distributed to shareholders in private companies. The announcement came alongside the company’s annual financial and performance results, as well as confirmation of its highest ever annual capital investment – £452 million.
The £47 million will be used to finance projects such as:
- £12 million towards helping it lowest-earning customers pay their bills
- £10 million investment towards improving the reliability of its water network in areas that see repeated problems – with 205 kilometres of water mains replaced already, and 372 kilometres cleansed across its operating area as part of a £100 million investment programme
- £6 million investment to help prevent sewer blockages and flooding of homes and businesses
- £5 million to increase wastewater capacity around the River Dee near Chester to reduce the risk of sewage leaks
- £5 million to improve business efficiency and reduce costs to keep down customer bills, including deploying new digital technology and reducing vehicle fleet costs
- £4 million investment in water treatment works to reduce the risk of interruptions to water supply
- £2.5 million to replace customers’ lead supply pipes
- £2.3 million to improve recreation facilities and public access at Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs in Cardiff, as part of a cross-Wales programme of visitor centre investments
Glas Cymru chairman, Alastair Lyons, said: “Our results show that Welsh Water is balancing the need to keep bills affordable for our customers, with the need to invest in our services to ensure our business is sustainable for decades to come. This is made possible by our unique non-shareholder model which allows us to invest in priority areas which our customers help us identify.
“The record dividend investment and strong financial results make it possible for us to work to achieve the long-term objectives set out in our Welsh Water 2050 strategy. The strategic responses we set out in that document will stand us in good stead to tackle the big challenges facing the water industry over the next decades, such as climate change, population growth and rising customer expectations.”
Chris Jones, Welsh Water chief executive, added: “As a not-for-profit water company, we have a commitment to act in the best interests of our customers. Because we have no shareholders, we can reinvest profits into our business, in the likes of our lead pipe replacement scheme, in the resilience of our water network, and in ensuring our sewer network is able to meet the challenges of long-term climate change.”
Last month, the company also confirmed that it had reduced its carbon emissions by 79 per cent since 2010 – 2011.
Earlier this year, the Consumer Council for Water published a survey that indicated that non-domestic water customers in Wales were more satisfied than their English counterparts.