Utility Week

UTILITY Week 4th August 2017

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UTILITY WEEK | 4TH - 10TH AUGUST 2017 | 17 Policy & Regulation Cathryn has been a transformational leader for Ofwat and the sector. As chief executive, she has created a dynamic and leading-edge regulator, effective in driving change across the water sector and putting cus- tomers first. We are sorry to see her go and wish her every success in her new role." JONSON COX, CHAIRMAN, OFWAT "Cathryn has brought a powerful com- bination of professionalism, integrity and personality to her role. We wish her well for the future and look for- ward to a smooth handover to her successor." MICHAEL ROBERTS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WATER UK "Cathryn has brought stability, integ- rity and candour in a period of great change for Ofwat and the sector. She has also been an ambassador and role model for emerging talent right across our sec- tor, a point rightly recognised through her recent Utility Week Guiding Star Award." NICK ELLINS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ENERGY AND UTILITY SKILLS "CCWater's relationship with Ofwat since Cathryn's been there has been very good, and she deserves some credit for improving the relationship of Ofwat, not just with CCWater but with other stakeholders around the sector as well. That's not to say she's not firm as a regulator, but she's built bridges between the various stakeholders around the sector. "It's been good, CCWater's and my relationship with Cathryn, and it's a shame to see her move on in that sense." TONY SMITH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CONSUMER COUNCIL FOR WATER "Cathryn will be a great loss to Ofwat and the industry. She has done a tremendous job bringing new approaches to regulation." COLIN SKELLETT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WESSEX WATER "We wish Cathryn all the very best in her new venture and look forward to working closely with her successor. During a time of transition for the water sector, Cathryn has consistently – and rightly – championed putting the customer at the heart of the industry and we're sure that all her excellent work will be built upon." STEPHEN BIRD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SOUTH WEST WATER " " Ross's approach to this transformation was not authoritarian. Learning from the mistakes of her predecessor, she made sure to reach out to a range of sector stakeholders from companies to consumer bodies, bring- ing them on board with her new vision for water regulation. Ross launched an agenda for Ofwat, and the water sector itself, that centred on "trust and confidence". Wessex Water chief execu- tive Colin Skellett says: "Cathryn provided the long term, strategic thinking that was so important. Cathryn's trust and confidence agenda is about making sure all the differ- ent stakeholders have confidence in the regulator." Described as "approachable" and "will- ing to listen", Ross encouraged candid debate about the impact of new regulatory mechanisms on company performance, investment and customer service. Tony Smith, chief executive of the Con- sumer Council for Water, tells Utility Week "she's built bridges", allowing for a strength- ened relationship between the regulator and the consumer champion "even, importantly, in those areas where we haven't agreed with Ofwat". For Smith, the key outcomes of Ross's leadership have been her success in getting customers to "drive" the price-setting pro- cess and her willingness to tackle the regu- lator's historical "generosity" on the cost of financing with a "firm" but not combative hand. That said, Ross is no so touch. Ranged against her many admirers, her ability to be ruthless in the delivery of her goals has also created a handful of battle-scarred critics, with a number of high-profile departures from the regulator – including former chief regulation officer Sonia Brown, who le in November 2015 – coming to mind. Ross was also quick to reassert her authority over the opening of the non-domestic water market following a period of working closely with the Water Industry Commission for Scotland and its chief executive, Alan Sutherland. The on-time opening of the market this year is another success to her credit. Now attention is turning to PR19. With the launch of the methodology earlier this sum- mer, detailed work can begin and Ross has stepped aside at what many would argue was the last possible moment for her to do so, until the price review is complete. She leaves her successor a regulator in good shape, with stable relationships with the companies it regulates. But with increasing scrutiny of customer bills, an uncertain political land- scape and a price review fast approaching, the task will be no less challenging for that.

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