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New ownership scheme opens up for Bournemouth Water customers

23rd October 2020

The number of people taking a stake in Bournemouth Water’s parent company has more than tripled, after one in 16 households chose to become shareholders under a pioneering scheme which shares the water company’s success with customers.

As part of its unique WaterShare+ scheme, Bournemouth Water invited billpayers to choose how they would like to receive their portion of a £20 million pot, earned by outperformance over the last five years.  Tens of thousands of customers decided to take shares in Exeter-based Pennon Group plc, which owns Bournemouth Water and South West Water, rather than automatically receive a £20 credit on their next bill.

As a result, there are now more than three times as many customer shareholders than existing investors on Pennon’s share register, representing significant customer ownership for a listed company.

The scheme is part of Bournemouth Water’s 2020-25 New Deal, which was shaped by customers for customers following the company’s biggest ever consultation.

Susan Davy, Pennon’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “This landmark step for a listed utility opens up a new kind of share ownership scheme for customers, connecting them with their water company in a way that has never been done before.  If Bournemouth Water continues to outperform, we will share further financial benefits with our customers, including the opportunity for them to take a bigger stake in their water company and for more customers to become shareholders. 

“We’re very pleased with the positive response we’ve had to this trailblazing initiative.  It’s an important milestone on our journey to creating a new kind of water company, closer to the customers and communities we serve.”

As well as sharing success, WaterShare+ gives customers a greater say in what Bournemouth Water does and how it’s run.  From January next year a series of meetings of the WaterShare+ Advisory Panel will be held in public every three months, independently chaired by Lord Matthew Taylor of Goss Moor, at which customers can hold company directors to account on progress against plans.

The New Deal also includes lower bills, additional support for those most in need, and more than £1 billion of extra spending to improve services.


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