Water regulator Ofwat has today given its initial assessment of water companies’ business plans for 2020-25.
Three water companies – Severn Trent, South West Water and United Utilities – delivered such high-quality plans that they have already been given the green light by Ofwat.
The plans from those three companies set out how they will cut bills by up to £70 in real terms while significantly improving support for vulnerable customers, and deliver real change in the areas that matter most to customers, like cutting leakage.
In the coming months, the remaining water companies will have to strengthen their plans so they too deliver for customers. Four companies – Affinity Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Thames Water and Southern Water – have the most work to do in order to meet the tough challenges Ofwat has laid down for the sector.
Across the board, water companies are proposing significant improvements for customers in the period 2020-25, including:
- Help for up to 1.5 million customers struggling to pay their water bills;
- A 15% reduction in leakage – the equivalent of more than 170 billion litres of water per year, which would save enough water for three months’ worth of daily showers for everyone in England and Wales;
- Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 45%, the equivalent of taking 360,000 cars off the road;
- Up to 80% reduction in pollution incidents; and,
- At least £10bn worth of extra investment to meet more stringent environmental standards, connect new homes and meet increased demand over the coming years.
Ofwat Chief Executive, Rachel Fletcher said:
“We have challenged all water companies to deliver more for less for customers over the next five years.
They’ve listened to the customers they serve. We’re seeing an increased focus on the things closest to people’s hearts such as keeping bills affordable, cutting leakage, protecting the environment and helping those most in need. Three companies have already stepped up to the mark with high quality plans and stretching commitments to customers for the next five years. The rest of the sector now needs to meet this high standard so that customers across the country get better and more efficient services”.