Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT March 2020

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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The Talk: March 4 | MARCH 2020 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk Four companies appeal to CMA over final determinations Yorkshire, Bristol, Anglian and Northum- brian have all referred their final determi- nations to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Announcing their referrals, both Anglian and Northumbrian said the main drivers were reflecting the priorities of their customers and investing for long- term resilience. Northumbrian Water chief executive officer, Heidi Mottram CBE, said: "NWL is a high performing and efficient company with a long track record of delivering for our customers and protecting the environment. We have listened carefully to our customers in the development of our business plan. Our assessment of the PR19 final determination is that it is contrary to the long-term best interests of our customers and doesn't provide for sustainable investment going forward, to the detriment of all our stakeholders. We have therefore asked Ofwat to refer the PR19 final determination to the CMA for review." Anglian had the largest gap between its proposed investment of £6.5 billion and Ofwat's final determination of £5.7 billion. The totex gap of £747.8 million means bills would come down by 10% compared to Anglian's proposed one per cent bill reduction. Chief executive Peter Simpson said: "The Anglian region faces specific chal- lenges brought about by a changing climate and a population growing faster than almost anywhere else in the UK. Our plan aimed to address these challenges, and our customers wholeheartedly sup- ported it. They want us to invest now, not wait. We also recognise that delaying now will mean that costs for customers in future will be much higher. "Social and environmental needs are firmly embedded in our business purpose. We have a long-term focus on improving the resilience of the region, and investing in infrastructure to cope with the impacts of climate change and population growth. "As we do not believe the final determi- nation enables us to meet these needs, we are making use of the next step in the regulatory process and asking the CMA to consider if the right balance has been struck between bill reductions and invest- ment." In rejecting its final determination, Yorkshire said the long-term risks to the company's resilience and custom- ers "would be at a level which it cannot accept". Chief executive Liz Barber said: "Everyone at Yorkshire Water shares a common purpose to provide safe and reliable services to our customers and our county, long into the future. We're naturally committed to being the most ef- ficient company we can, but have decided that accepting this determination would jeopardise Yorkshire's resilience and our own." Bristol Water rejected Ofwat's final determination on the grounds of finance- ability. Mel Karam, chief executive at Bristol Water, said: "Operating Bristol Water in the best way possible for our region and its people, and for our employees, is at WWT to host innovation webinar WWT, in association with Ofwat, will be hosting a webinar to highlight the regu- lator's plans to drive transformational innovation and address key strategic challenges such as climate change and population growth. The discussion, which is taking place on 16 March at 2pm, will challenge the water companies, supply chain and other key actors to step up and take a leading role in encouraging the neces- sary change and embedding a culture of innovation in the sector. With the water regulator recently con- firming that an additional £200 million will be made available through an in- novation competition between 2020 and 2025 and calling on the water companies to come together through a new innova- tion strategy, Ofwat will also provide an update on where they are in the process, what they want to achieve through the innovation competition and their plans around open data. The speaker from Ofwat is Clothilde Cantegreil, who has been leading the in- novation work at Ofwat since she joined the regulator in June 2019. The discussion will also feature Denise Massey, managing director at the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), who will share her experience of how fostering collaboration and partnerships in other sectors has led to improvements in in- novation. It will offer insights for senior manag- ers and executives in water companies who are tasked with delivering on multiple agendas - such as digitalisa- tion, data management, decarbonisation and customer service - but with tight resources and limited organisational ap- petite for risk. With almost eight in 10 respondents to a recent WWT survey supporting Ofwat's proposed £200 million innova- tion competition, the discussion is likely to be useful for heads of, and directors of, assets and operations, and strategy and innovation leaders. There will also be an opportunity to Ofwat chief executive Rachel Fletcher.

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