Ofwat has named David Black as its permanent chief executive after a year in the position in an interim capacity. Black oversaw the PR19 price review, dubbed the toughest the sector has seen, and has been instrumental in tightening financial resilience of water companies.
Industry experts have called for the prioritisation of work to better understand and remove surface water without it entering overburdened sewers as a key challenge of climate change resilience. The chief executive of Thames and Northumbrian Water agree that the sector needs to work harder, and collaborate further on managing surface water.
Consumer research shows water companies are increasingly being seen as the primary culprits when it comes to river pollution, yet public awareness of the work they are doing to mitigate these impacts is actually dropping. Ruth Williams asks why the water sector has struggled to make its voice heard.
Anglian Water has been fined £18,000 over its response to equipment failures at a pumping station near Peterborough that resulted in sewage spilling into a nearby river. The Environment Agency said the successive failure of two pumps at the station in Yaxley highlighted the company’s “reactive attitude” to pollution.
This week's roundup of national news coverage includes reports of households resorting to ‘buy now pay later’ loans to cover bills amid reports that a windfall tax on energy giants would not harm UK pension pots, but separately that such a tax would fail to deliver the desired relief to billpayers. Scottish Power’s Keith Anderson warned of a ‘horrific winter’ for customers if the government does not majorly intervene and elsewhere delays in renewables projects threaten the pace of net zero.
Water companies are still failing to “get the basics rights” when comes to customer service, according to Ofwat chief executive David Black. Speaking at the regulator’s annual non-executive director conference, Black warned that if things stay as they are, they will not be trusted to tackle other major issues like improving water quality in rivers and reducing consumption to prevent shortages.
Anglian and Severn Trent will help farmers across their regions to invest in regenerative farming practices that protect and enhance rivers with match funding, tree planting and access to green finance. The scheme is part of the two companies' Get River Fit commitments announced earlier this year
Despite many people saying they are aware of the impact their household water habits can have on the environment, far fewer understand the specific effects and fewer still have modified their behaviour to benefit the environment. That is according to research by CCW that has coincided with the launch of Water's Worth Saving campaign coordinated by Water UK.
Tunnelling work has been completed on the London super sewer after 25km of tunnels have been built under the capital for the Thames Tideway that will divert wastewater away from the River Thames. Work began in 2018 and the huge project is due to complete in 2025.
CCW has launched a campaign to support water retailers to tell their customers about any credit accrued on their account and inform them of the risks as well as benefits of advance payments. The watchdog wants all business customers to be aware that in the event of retailer failure they could lose their money and will offer a communication toolkit to spread the word effectively.
As the government rushes to secure the UK's energy supplies whilst weaning the country off Russian gas, there are reports that EDF's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station could be spared from imminent closure and that ministers are in talks with South Korea to help build the series of new nuclear plants promised by the prime minister. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have released figures showing raw sewage was discharged into English bathing waters more than 25,000 times in 2021. This and more in Utility Week's latest round up of the weekend papers.
Ofwat has proposed a new approach to monitoring and regulating operational resilience as it takes a longer-term view of sector-wide challenges. The regulator said this will include asking water companies to report on a series of new measures covering asset health, unplanned maintenance and equipment failures that will eventually be consolidated into an “integrated monitoring framework”.
Welsh Water, Northumbrian, Severn Trent, Anglian and Southern are among the winners of innovation funding from Ofwat's Breakthrough Challenge, to develop and implement schemes that address common water sector challenges, including leakage and driving down harmful emissions from wastewater treatment.
Over the past eight months the Utility Week editorial team have been recording the split of male and female interviewees and contributors across our coverage. Editor James Wallin looks at the progress made and urges the sector to help us do more.
A single social tariff for financially vulnerable water customers is “even more important” in the context of a wider cost of living crisis, CCW has said. The consumer body is currently working with Defra and the Welsh government to establish how to implement a scheme and what it will look like, with the aim of having it in place for the start of the next price review period in 2025.