The Consumer Council for Water says they are confident they can convince water companies to give something back to the consumer, following their higher than expected profits.
This could be done in several ways including social tariffs assisting those struggling to pay, investing in services to bring down the risk of hosepipe bans, tackle sewer flooding and leakage.
Chair of CCWater, Dame Yve Buckland said “Water companies are making higher profits than expected and they need to give some of this back to their customers. They can limit their own prices or invest more money into services – they shouldn’t keep it all for shareholders and investors.”
Just how much cash will be available won’t become clear until regulatory accounts are published in May, according to Tony Smith CCWater chief executive. He said “We are confident that the industry as a whole is doing very well. If you are improving the returns you give to shareholders, at the same time you should think about giving something back to customers.”
Suggestions from Ofwat chair Jonson Cox for companies to consider formal gainshare agreements have been welcomed by Tony Smith.
Rob Wesley, head of policy at industry body Water UK, said it was “important to take a rounded view”. He noted that the sector had faced extra costs since adopting private sewers in October 2011.