Because competition for water and sewerage services is limited in England and Wales, companies need to have an economic regulator, Ofwat.
Ofwat sets the price, investment and service package that customers receive. This includes setting limits on the prices the companies can charge their customers. This process involves balancing consumers’ interests with the need to ensure companies can still successfully deliver water and sewerage services and protect the environment.
Ofwat review price limits every five years. The last price review was in 2014 and applied to customer bills – and the services they receive – between 2015 and 2020. The next price review is underway. Ofwat will make final decisions in December 2019 on prices and service levels from 2020 to 2025.
Before companies present their five-year business plans to Ofwat, they work with their customers to understand what services are most important to them and what needs to be prioritised.
The last price review, held in 2014, was the largest ever public consultation on water in England and Wales, and more than 250,000 people were involved. Water companies having been involving customers in drawing up their plans for the next price review, which will be finished in 2019. If you want to get involved, speak to your water company.
There is also a Customer Challenge Group for each company. These were set up during the last price review to make sure that when companies asked customers what they wanted, and what they were prepared to pay for, they did it properly and fairly – and that companies based their plans on the answers from customers.
Customer Challenge Groups are independent from the company and made up of customers, consumer bodies, local businesses, environmental groups and many others.
Want to know more about the price review process?
Please click here to visit Ofwat.