Ofwat uncompromising in its response to company statements to CMA

Ofwat submitted a robust defence of its PR19 final determinations and rejected the cases put forward by the four water companies appealing its decisions at the Competition and Markets Authority last week.

Responding to the statements of case submitted in April by Northumbrian, Yorkshire, Anglian and Bristol Water, Ofwat stood by its determinations entirely and argued the four firms need to follow their 13 peers and “step up” to deliver for customers. It said its process had been transparent and exhaustive, and dismissed the companies’ contention that it had failed to meet its statutory duties as “disagreements as to the merits of our decisions, dressed up as legal points”.

Ofwat submitted detailed responses to each company, as well as a document providing an overview of its position and three papers addressing common issues in companies’ statements of case – on cost efficiency, outcomes, and risk and return. On its website, the regulator also published documents from Europe Economics on allowed returns and the impact of Covid 19, and from PwC on long-term financeability in the water sector.