Sector pledges 13% spending boost and 4% bill cut in PR19 business plans

As the deadline dawned this morning for water company PR19 business plan submissions to Ofwat, Water UK published an industry-level overview of the commitments companies have pledged to deliver between 2020 and 2025.

Among the headlines were:

  • a 13% increase on AMP6 spending to £50bn;

  • 4% real terms fall in average bills;

  • help for 90% more customers who struggle to afford their bills, to 1.4m customers a year;

  • a 16% cut in leakage, equivalent to 461 million litres a day;

  • a 36% decrease in the duration of supply interruptions;

  • environmental action to improve 8000km of rivers;

  • a 90% reduction in the number of serious pollution incidents, from 52 today to around a half-dozen by the end of 2025;

  • 98% of bathing waters compliant with European standards; and

  • consultation with 5.3m customers in drawing up the plans.

With a likely nod to the political and ownership discussions surrounding the sector, Water UK called its summary report A manifesto for water, and referred to the collective action as “an ambitious new vision for the 2020s”.

Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts said: “The water industry’s record over the past 30 years – cutting leakage, keeping bills affordable, improving water quality, and cleaning up rivers – has been good, but the business plans offer to take it to another level. The ambition in this manifesto shows an industry that is dynamic and passionate about delivering real benefits for customers, the environment and the country as a whole. The industry has set out an ambitious vision for the future of water that puts customers right at the heart of everything that companies do.”