Press Releases 2007

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News Release 03/2007 - A good year for customers says Scottish water regulator

06 June 2007

This has been a good year for customers, according to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland’s annual report, published today.

Under the price limits set by the Commission in November 2005, household customers have seen their bills rise by 3% – less than the rate of inflation – while bills have risen by 7% south of the border. Businesses and other non-household customers, such as hospitals and schools, have had increases held to 2%.

Customer service, while still not as good in Scotland as in England, has improved significantly during the past year. And the constraints that have dogged developers for years have eased considerably.

Sir Ian Byatt, Chairman of the Water Industry Commission, noted, however, that there was no room for complacency. He said:

“We are concerned that the large capital programme for the years 2006 to 2010 appears to have got off to a slow start. The Commission will work with the quality and environmental regulators, and Waterwatch Scotland, to make sure that Scottish Water delivers the outputs that customers have paid for.”

Looking forward, the Commission has started work on its methodology for the next price review, where prices for 2010-14 will be set. The review will be conducted openly, with maximum involvement from all interested parties.

Good progress has also been made this year towards introducing competition into the retail business market, which offers the prospect of better service and lower bills. We have now received our first licence application. There appears to be considerable interest amongst other potential new entrants.

Sir Ian Byatt added:

“We are encouraged by the interest of potential new entrants into the market. Competition will lead to greater innovation and lower costs to customers.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. A copy of the Commission’s 2006-07 Annual Report is available on its website at www.watercommission.co.uk
  2. The Commission monitors Scottish Water’s financial, investment and customer service performance, and has the statutory duty to determine price limits based on the lowest reasonable cost of achieving ministerial objectives for the water industry. In November 2005 the Commission determined price limits for water and sewerage services for the regulatory control period 2006-07 to 2009-10. A document setting out the determination is available at www.watercommission.co.uk  
  3. The price limits allowed Scottish Water to address development constraints across Scotland, enabling provision of 15,000 more homes a year in areas where there were previously constraints on development.
  4. The Commission is a member of the Output Monitoring Group, which is chaired by the Scottish Executive and includes representatives from Scottish Water, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Drinking Water Quality Regulator, Waterwatch Scotland. 
  5. The Water Industry Commission was appointed in July 2005, under the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act. Its members are Sir Ian Byatt, formerly Deputy Chief Economic Adviser at the Treasury and Director General of Water Services in England and Wales; Professor John K Banyard OBE, former Director of Asset Management at Severn Trent Water; Dr Mike Brooker, formerly Managing Director of Dwr Cymru; Mr Charles Coulthard, Chair of the Gas and Electricity Consumers Council in Scotland and formerly Managing Director of Ofgem in Scotland; Professor David Simpson, formerly economic adviser to Standard Life; and Mr Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive, formerly Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland.


For further information please call Katherine Russell, Director of Corporate Affairs, on 01786 430200.
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