CCW’s primary functions are to provide advice and represent consumers on water matters and to investigate and handle complaints made against licensed water suppliers or companies. CCW has duties to represent the interests of consumers, both domestic and business, of licensed water suppliers in the new competition regime that came into operation on 1 December 2005, as well as the interests of consumers of water and sewerage companies.
CCW has the following specific powers, duties and powers under the Water Industry Act 1991 (as amended by the Water Act 2003):
- S27A (12) Establishment of the Council and Committees – requires CCW to exercise and perform its powers and duties in the manner which it considers is best calculated to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.
- S27B Co-operation between Council and other authorities – requires CCW to agree a memorandum of understanding with the Authority (Ofwat), the Secretary of State (Defra and DWI) and the Welsh Government.
- S27C The interests of consumers – requires CCW to have regard to the interests of:
- a) individuals who are disabled or chronically sick;
- b) individuals of pensionable age;
- c) individuals with low incomes;
- d) individuals residing in rural areas: and
- e) consumers who are ineligible to change their water supplier.
- S27D Acquisition and review of information – provides for CCW to obtain and keep under review information about consumer matters and the views of consumers.
- S27E Provision of advice and information to public authorities – provides for CCW to make proposals, provide advice and information about consumer matters and represent the views of consumers to public authorities, undertakers, licensed water suppliers and other persons whose activities may affect consumers.
- S27F Provision of information to consumers – provides for CCW to provide information to consumers about consumer matters.
- S27G Power to publish information and advice about consumer matters – (subject to certain conditions) gives CCW the power to publish advice or information about consumers’ matters or consumers’ views where it would promote the interests of consumers.
- S27H Provision of information to the Council – (subject to certain conditions) provides for CCW to request information from the Authority, undertakers or licensed water suppliers.
- S27J Provision of information by the Council – provides for CCW to provide information to the Authority, Secretary of State or the Welsh Government.
- S29 Consumer complaints – provides for CCW to deal with complaints about the services provided by an undertaker or licensed water supplier.
- S29A Power of Council to investigate other matters – gives CCW the power to investigate any matter which appears to it to be a matter relating to the interests of consumers.
- S38B Publication of statistical information about complaints: (water) – requires CCW to publish statistical information relating to complaints received by undertakers, licensed water suppliers and regulators about water services.
- S95B Publication of statistical information about complaints (sewerage) – requires CCW to publish statistical information relating to complaints received by undertakers and regulators about sewerage services.
The Water Act 2014 gave CCW some additional responsibilities, which involve being consulted on:
- S66 The development of market codes, and some charging issues in the lead up to competition widening out to all non-household customers;
- S43 Incumbents exiting the non-household retail market – the development of Regulations and depending on the final Regulations, possibly separately by companies when they apply to exit;
- S40B issues relating to the movement of water to undertakers, by Defra and separately by Welsh Government; and
- S54 Licence changes as a result of consumer redress schemes;
- S16 Water companies’ charges schemes;
- S38 Defra and separately the Welsh Government’s Charging Guidance; and
- S24 separately their Strategic Priorities.
We must also represent the interests of consumers supplied by new entrants to the market; require, when necessary, information from the water supply or sewerage licensee; and deal with complaints from customers of water supply and sewerage licensees.