A Step In The Right Direction – The Consumer Council for Water’s assessment of the 2014 Price Review

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has published its assessment of how well the 2014 Price Review has delivered for customers. The report draws on our reflections of the price-setting process, as well as research undertaken with customers and members of Customer Challenge Groups (CCGs) 1.

The key findings are:

  • CCGs should continue to challenge and scrutinise water company business plans but the groups need strong governance to ensure they are seen as independent in the eyes of customers.
  • CCGs should have access to more comparative information, so individual water company’s proposals can be assessed in the context of how well a company’s proposals compare across the industry.
  • Incentive rewards achieved by companies for delivering required outcomes should be clearly explained to customers so they understand what benefits they will receive in return.
  • Ofwat’s ‘enhanced’ status for water company business plans should produce clear benefits for customers. Evidence of a company’s past performance should also be taken into account when evaluating whether enhanced status should be applied to a business plan.
  • CCWater should continue to measure the customer acceptability of Ofwat’s draft determinations and could extend this to business plan proposals at future price reviews.  This would allow comparability across industry, and assist Ofwat in focussing its attention on water companies that have lower levels of customer acceptability.

[1] Customer Challenge Groups (CCGs) were established by each water company to scrutinise their price and service plans for 2015 to 2020, as part of the price-setting process. The groups report back to the regulator Ofwat on how well a water company has engaged with customers and reflected their views in its proposals

Download the report findings below: