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  • by Trevor Loveday

Ofwat forward look focuses on trust

Ofwat has published its Forward Programme under an overarching ambition to “use all our regulatory levers to follow through on companies’ actions to rebuild trust.

The regulator led its listing of chief areas of focus with “addressing company performance on the environment and sewage pollution. This it said would feature "working closely with the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales on our enforcement investigations and monitoring framework."

It said it will push companies to “take proper account of outcomes for customers and the environment in their decisions on dividends and performance related executive pay.”

Among the other areas of intent was: “Challenging companies on their commitments to reduce leakage, to reach net zero, meet water quality commitments and deliver nature-based solutions, and to promote biodiversity.

Ofwat said it would ensure that the companies were doing “everything they can to respond to customers’ needs“ and emphasised the importance of the growing cost of living context. At the same time Ofwat said hit would be developing its policy work on charging rules, customer debt and our licensing framework.

The regulator emphasised a need for companies to “maintain focus on their financial resilience to ensure they can invest and improve performance at the pace required to deliver resilience, sustainability and better service quality.

Ofwat went on to highlight the need for the sector to “address the longer-term challenges posed by

environmental degradation and climate change.’ It warned: “The scale of change and investment needed is substantial and we expect to see these needs and companies’ ambitions reflected in their water resource and drainage and wastewater management plans.”

In that context Ofwat said: “We want to see companies focus more on asset stewardship, and develop new or better ways of operating,”, Prescribing activities including: “nature-based solutions where appropriate,” “leveraging digital tools” and "fully embracing the opportunities presented by open data.”


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