GREEN LIGHT FOR BOURNEMOUTH WATER’S ‘NEW DEAL’
31st January 2019
Plans to improve services for Bournemouth Water customers today got the thumbs up from industry regulator Ofwat, who said the plan “set a new standard for the sector”. Customers can look forward to lower water bills, extra investment, a unique share offering and more control, under a 2020-25 business plan developed by South West Water, part of Pennon Group plc and owner of Bournemouth Water.
Entitled a ‘New Deal’, the plan will now be fast-tracked for a draft price determination in April, providing early planning certainty for the company and its customers. Most other companies will have to wait until later in the year before their plans get the green light from the regulator.
For Bournemouth Water customers, the average water bill, already one of the lowest in the industry, would fall by nine per cent in real terms between 2020 and 2025, and extra steps would be taken to eliminate water poverty. At the same time current investment will triple to include the construction of two new state-of-the-art water treatment works – one at Knapp Mill and another, subsequently, at Alderney.
A striking feature of the New Deal is a greater say for customers in how the company is run and the offer of a shareholding in Bournemouth Water’s parent company, Pennon Group Plc, as part of a scheme which shares the success of outperformance with customers.
Managing Director Dr Stephen Bird said: “We’re encouraged that the regulator has a high regard for our business plan, particularly as the plan was shaped by people and organisations across the Bournemouth area. We are very grateful for the feedback we received during our biggest ever consultation.
“Our New Deal empowers customers to be part of our business and have more control. It redefines the relationship between a water company and its customers, and recognises our societal responsibilities.”
Nick Buckland OBE, Chair of the independent WaterFuture Customer Panel, which scrutinised and assured the development of the plan against customer wishes, said: “The panel offered strong constructive challenge as the plan was developed. To its credit, Bournemouth Water listened and acted on what customers said. The result is an innovative plan that reduces bills, invests more, gives customers more control, and supports those most in need.”
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For further information on the New Deal visit www.southwestwater.co.uk/newdeal