Water reforms 'must focus on price'
Filed under: Utilities
Ex-Ofwat chief Sir Ian Byatt called for a price cap to keep hikes in water bills at inflation or below.
Cut your bills
And he said reforms were needed to encourage more choice and more trading within the water market in England and Wales, to ensure that they do not face significant water shortages in the future.
Mechanisms such as water trading and abstraction-right trading, together with incentives to take a long-term view when taking investment decisions, can help alleviate water shortages, reducing the use of hosepipe bans and ensuring supplies reach parts of the country where they are most scarce, he said.
But his report, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, added: "Environmental spending is now distorting investment... Meanwhile, increases in bills have created social problems for customers, particularly in the South-West."
Sir Ian said: "At a time when many families are struggling to get by, reducing the costs of basic necessities, like water, should be a priority. The increasing burden of regulatory policy on the water industry has contributed to rising prices and it is time for change.
"Water regulation needs to focus on driving down prices and ensuring we have enough supply. Sensible policies, such as encouraging more water trading between regions, would help to ensure Britain doesn't face hosepipe bans in the future."
- How to complain about your energy supplier
- Dismal weather pushes energy bills up 200%
- The best and worst energy bills
- Find the cheapest energy tariffs