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Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) chief executive Heidi Mottram has said it is crucial that any initiatives aimed at stimulating innovation in the water sector do not penalise failure. She said NWG's third Innovation Festival showed what could be achieved through collaborative innovation but said risk would always be an important part of creativity
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Water companies could be granted permission to increase customer bills by up to £200 million to stimulate innovation in the sector between 2020-2025. Ofwat has proposed an innovation funding competition and/or an end-of-period reward for the successful rollout of innovative projects. A new consultation also looks at the potential for a sector-wide joint innovation strategy as well as an innovation in water centre of excellence.
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Ofwat says urgent action is needed to resolve frictions in the business retail water market, despite £10 million of savings in the second year since the market opened. The regulator also revealed it is amending its Retail Exit Code to introduce new price protections
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Ofwat is investigating allegations that Thames Water abused its dominant position in the market. The accusations relate to concerns about smart meter installation, the accuracy of data shared with retailers when the non-domestic market opened up and the fairness of certain terms which Thames applies to retailers.
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Ofwat is expected to launch a consultation next week on how it can support innovation in the water sector. Proposals on achieving this include a £35 million-a-year ring-fenced innovation fund and the creation of a dedicated centre of excellence.
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Anglian Water has become the UK’s first water company to enshrine public interest in its constitution, and committed to a set of Responsible Business Principles to report performance against. It follows comments from Ofwat chief executive Rachel Fletcher, who said she was considering whether licence change was a viable way of committing water companies to protect the environment and support their wider communities.
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