The Department for Business and Trade has said it wants to stimulate competition within the water sector through streamlined regulation as well as delegating some of Ofwat's powers around the non-domestic market.
Environmental regulation in Wales came under fire from politicians at a select committee hearing where witnesses described a cultural aversion to enforcement at Natural Resources Wales. The organisation's CEO said prosecution indicated regulation had failed and did not benefit the environment.
The government is considering fundamental changes to the regulatory appeals process for water companies. This includes the possibility of moving away from a complete redetermination of company business plan submissions in favour of appealing specific aspects - to mirror the regime for energy.
Thames Water has left too much work to complete in the current asset management period to meet all its performance commitments , Cathryn Ross has told an online meeting for billpayers. The interim co-CEO acknowledged that the company has an asset deficit but denied that consumers had paid for work that had not been delivered.
A slight dip in the number of designated bathing areas being classified as excellent or good this year has been attributed by the Environment Agency to an unseasonably wet summer. Overall, 96% of locations met the regulator's required standards.
A truly joined-up priority services register for water and energy companies is to finally become a reality in the first quarter of 2024 as retailers start sharing their data on vulnerable customers, Utility Week understands. In a milestone moment for the sector, energy suppliers will switch from a process of explicitly asking customers for consent to share their data to one in which the substantial public interest clause is used to comply with data protection laws.
Yorkshire Water has paid out £1 million to environmental groups in relation to a historic pollution incident caused by a blocked storm overflow. The water company voluntarily offered to pay £500,000 to both the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and to Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and has completed upgrades to the sewer network in the area worth £1.85 million.
Five water retailers have refunded thousands of customers who were overcharged. In total, the five retailers have refunded £380,000 to 3,500 customers after a CCW investigation uncovered billing errors.
South West Water’s £125 million plans to deliver two desalination plants have been pushed back to next year. Speaking to Utility Week, South West Water chief executive Susan Davy confirmed that the plants would not be delivered this year as previously slated. Davy was speaking after South West's parent company Pennon announced an 85% drop in half-year pre-tax profits.
Anglian Water has set out plans for more than £12 million of improvements to river water quality across its region. The work at six locations includes removing phosphorous at wastewater treatment sites to meet tightening environmental regulations as well as upgrades to boost capacity to process more sewage.
While it often comes under fire for its slow progress and lack of consumer interest, there is a lot the water sector can learn from the smart energy meter rollout according to Baringa director Will Lewis. Writing for Utility Week, Lewis outlines the challenges faced by the water sector in its own smart rollout and how it can overcome them.
Ofwat's chair and chief executive both told a House of Commons committee that the proposed £100 million water efficiency fund would not be sufficient to stop people using as much water. Answering questions on resilience of supplies, Black said getting major infrastructure projects off the ground was a problem, but something Ofwat and other stakeholders are focused on.
The National Underground Asset Register has been extended to cover all of England and Wales as a digital record of pipes, cables and buried assets. It is intended to save time and money for street works projects as well as reducing the risk of harm to workers from cable strikes.
The government has revealed plans to hold a “thorough review” of economic regulators’ duties, including those of Ofgem and Ofwat, to ensure they remain fit for purpose. The Department for Business and Trade said the expansion of their duties over time has made it harder for regulators to manage priorities and trade-offs as tensions arise.
The government has announced it is exploring options to introduce a single, multi-sector Priority Service Register (PSR) to help vulnerable utility consumers. Under plans announced as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday (22 November) energy, water and telecoms companies would share data so those most in need only need to disclose information about their vulnerability once, regardless of where they live.
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