The Water Bill is expected very soon which will allow the secretary of state to set customer service levels for water companies, according to a speech by Defra’s Dr Sonia Philppard at the Future Water 2013 conference in London today.
The bill will include measures to make it easier for owners of small scale water storage to sell their water into the grid, changes to make it easier for water companies to fund the restoration of sustainable abstraction, and make it easier for developers to get connections to water and sewerage and a new duty for Ofwat to ensure resilience of supply.
Defra confirmed that the final Water Bill would introduce water competition for business customers from 2017 and the upstream of competition would follow three or four years later. There were also hints at changes to the detail around upstream competition from the controversial draft Water Bill published last year.
Included in the proposals were developing a competitive Anglo-Scottish retail market to allow non-household customers a choice of supplier. Indication from the government show a likely target date of April 2017 for market opening in England.