Developers slam new connection rules as failing to address lack of clarity in rates

An association set-up to provide support to self-lay providers has condemned recently implemented regulator and government rules for failing in their aim to address lack of clarity in water company connection charges.

The association, Fair Water Connections, has asserted that “So much work is now needed, by Ofwat and the companies themselves, to build customer confidence that the widely varying amounts that each company is charging is both fair and reasonable.” Report author, Martyn Speight, said developer services customers “will continue to view the way they are being treated with distain and consider that the objectives underpinning the charging changes, set by both Defra and Ofwat, have not been realised.”

Speight reported the move away from the previous legislation-based approach to the new rules as being largely driven by a need to “end developer services customer disquiet about not knowing what they were funding or how charges had been calculated.” But he said the companies have shown “scant regard” towards Ofwat and Defra’s four chief objectives for the new regime namely:

fairness and affordability;

environmental protection;

stability and predictability; and

transparency and customer-focused service

He claimed developers were still required to pay charges for which no water company provided evidence that “the amounts payable maintain the broad balance with what would previously have been paid by

developer services customers. He said also that customers had only been consulted “superficially” on the charges and the rates could materially change at the start of 2019/20.