Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT April 2018

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 28 of 43

P R E S E N T S I N A S S O C I A T I O N W I T H www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | APRIL 2018 | 29 Regula on sta ons U li es regula on is designed to create stability and consistency, for the benefi t of consumers and investors alike. Changes to u li es' regulatory regimes are therefore disrup ve by nature, forcing companies to adapt work processes and repor ng prac ces – o en for myriad business ac vi es – and update investor understanding of any implica ons for their returns. Meanwhile, regulators must ensure the public is confi dent that changes to regula on will always maintain or improve the outcomes they receive, without crea ng unintended consequences. To protect the stability of u li es regula on, UK regulators have tradi onally stood apart from the vola le poli cal realm – crea ng a buff er zone between short-term policy-making and the longer-term requirements of a sector that requires long- term capital or clarity of opportunity for shorter-term growth. But today's unique poli cal narra ve, combined with monumental macro-economic and environmental drivers for change, poses unprecedented challenges for maintaining regulatory stability, or even visibility of the direc on of travel. To ease the sector's transi on into an uncertain future, regulators across energy and water are tes ng the eff ec veness of principles or risk-based approaches to regula on, which are more fl exible, alongside shi ing consumer and policy expecta ons, as opposed to hard and fast rules that create cultures of compliance rather than problem solving. Elsewhere, economic regula on for monopoly u li es is increasingly incorpora ng measures to drive innova on, proof of customer value and long-term thinking. It is seeking new ways to emulate compe ve market condi ons and ensure u li es plan today for a world that will be diff erent tomorrow. Some commentators are not convinced these new approaches to regula on are suffi cient to address the challenges u li es face. Labour's call for rena onalisa on, along with the fundamental overhauls to market structures put forward by the likes of Dieter Helm, mean there are op ons on the table for a complete redesign of u lity regula on, and with it the ways in which companies understand their roles, responsibili es and opportuni es for profi tability. To understand the outlook of u li es professionals on these ongoing and poten al infl uences over their regulatory regimes, U lity Week Live put the opinions and sen ments of its audience, and those of its sister brands U lity Week, WWT, WET News and Network, in the spotlight. Here we reveal the leading themes iden fi ed by the research respondents. As we approach U lity Week Live 2018, we look at the trends, technologies and factors that are set to disrupt u lity business models in the years to come. In this issue: disrup on and regula on D I S R U P T I O N

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