Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT February 2020

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/1202034

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Page 3 of 47

The Talk: February 4 | FEBRUARY 2020 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk Ofwat fires 'starting gun' with PR19 price determinations Ofwat has published the eagerly-awaited final PR19 price review, which includes a demand to cut average water bills by £50. The final document published on 16 December by the regulator contains a number of key demands for water companies in England and Wales over the next five years, including cutting leakage rates by 16% and reducing mains bursts by 12%. The £51 billion package also includes £469 million to address long-term drought challenges, more than £1 billion to help protect from flooding and identifying and helping an additional two million custom- ers, who need extra support. Other demands include reducing mains bursts by 12% and reducing pollu- tion incidents by 12%. "We're firing the starting gun on the transformation of the water industry backed by a major investment programme to deliver new, improved services for customers and the environment and resilience for generations to come," said Ofwat chief executive, Rachel Fletcher (pictured). "Now water companies need to crack on, turn this into a reality and transform their performance for everyone. "They will be investing the equivalent of an extra £6 million each and every day to overhaul services, strengthen their infrastructure and improve our natural environment. And at the same time, cus- tomers' bills will fall by an average of £50 before inflation." In the document, the regulator also says it recognises that Londoners deserve a better level of service, so it will allow Thames Water to bid for up to an addi- tional £480m to deliver improved service resilience. But in order to access this, Ofwat added that they will need to pass a series of tests and Thames' investors will also need to provide substantial additional funding. A spokesman for Thames Water said: "We have received our final determination from Ofwat and are analysing the very lengthy and detailed documents. "There are eight weeks to decide whether to accept - or challenge - the determination. We will carefully consider our options and announce our decision in £200m innovation fund confirmed Ofwat has confirmed that it plans to launch an innovation competition, with up to £200 million available between 2020 and 2025. The competition was confirmed in a document, which sets out the regulator's PR19 final price determinations. The report states the regulator will make £200m available through an innovation competition to encourage "companies to collaborate with each other and with other companies in their supply chains". "We will work with companies and other stakeholders to set this up in a way that benefits customers as much as pos- sible," the document states. "We are also using markets and competition to drive improvements and innovation," it adds. "In our future work, we will continue to reflect on the ways regulation can make innovation possible. An exclusive WWT survey of senior executives and managers from water companies recently revealed almost eight in 10 respondents backed the idea of the proposed £200 million innovation fund, with 76 per cent favouring a combination of a collectively funded innovation com- petition and a reward for the successful rollout of innovative solutions. For more on the innovation com- petition see WWT's interview with UKWIR chief executive Steve Kaye on page 6.

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