Ups and downs in the latest information quality assessment by Ofwat

Three water companies have been promoted by Ofwat to its top tier rating of quality of information and assurance while four have been demoted in the latest annual appraisal by the regulator.

At the same time Ofwat has opened up a consultation on how companies could make their information easier to understand.

Ofwat’s annual assessment of water companies’ information quality is intended to encourage companies to publish information that can be trusted by their customers.

Senior director at Ofwat, Keith Mason, said: “The ratings we have published today enable customers to compare their water company with others, which is important to help drive improvement. Where we’re concerned by the quality of this information, we will intervene to make sure they improve.”

South East Water, Severn Trent Water and United Utilities have each moved up to the highest category dubbed self-assurance.

Ofwat demoted South West Water and Affinity Water to the targeted category for having failed to meet consistently the standards expected in the self-assurance category.

And the regulator placed Yorkshire Water and Southern Water to join Bristol Water and Dee Valley Water in the bottom tier – the prescribed assurance category. Their demotion was ”because of concerns with how they assure their data.”

Ofwat will take account of the quality of companies’ information in PR19. Companies that wish to secure enhanced status in their price controls need to demonstrate the highest-quality information and assurance.

Ofwat is also asking how companies should engage with customers about their performance in the future in a new consultation looking at outcomes.

Ofwat introduced the outcomes framework at PR14. It said it was consulting now on ways this could be developed further beyond 2020 by encouraging companies to focus more on delivering the services their customers want.