Severn Trent oil on troubled water wins building sector accolade

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has awarded Severn Trent Water the accolade of Utility of the Year offsetting to a degree recent criticism of the water industry by the construction sector.

Severn Trent won the title in reward for “concerted efforts to improve relationships with major developers” said the HBF. The Birmingham-based utility was commended also for its lead in developing a new code of practice for self-lay companies.

Severn Trent's head of developer services, Steve Betteridge, said: “We're very aware that we've got a long way to go – one of the ways we've improved our relationships with home builders is just by listening to them and establishing exactly where they think we need to improve.”

The HBF said Severn Trent was utility of the year because it “demonstrated a willingness to engage with developers, and a keenness to innovate.” The water firm’s initiatives in increasing competition in the sector also influenced the HBF’s decision.

Meanwhile Ofwat has postponed implementation of changes in new connection charging rules following further consultation in the summer. In a recent update the regulator said: “We need to ensure that charges enable and encourage efficiency, are fair and give certainty to suppliers and buyers.” It pointed out concerns from various stakeholders with current arrangements including assertions that charges were too complex, unpredictable and unfair.